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Golfers get school on the road
June 21, 2011

The lives of 200 Kent children are set to take a turn for the better as a result of the generosity of the Upchurch River Valley Golf Club. The golfers set out to raise £20,000 GBP by 2012 - but came in early due to an extraordinary fundraising effort which will see the Meadowfield School, Sittingbourne. - one of the leading special needs schools in the country - get the keys to a new minibus.

Forbes Cutler, 2011 Club Captain said;

"Upchurch River Valley Golf Club is delighted to have been able to help the pupils of the Meadowfield School. The minibus will help around 200 children enjoy a better quality of life and participate in the kinds of activities that making learning fun. I'd like to thank everyone for their generosity and pay particular tribute to John Cliff and Geoff French for their outstanding fund raising efforts."

Philip Rankin, Principal of Meadowfield School said:

"The Local Authority does not give schools a budget for the purchase of mini buses, so we rely on the thoughtfulness and generosity of people such as the members of the Upchurch River Valley Golf Club.

"Without their support the quality of education for these special needs pupils and students would be severely limited.

"The gift of a brand new MPV is brilliant news for Meadowfield."

The road to raising the funds - how the Upchurch River Valley Golf Club bought the bus

In February 2010 George Bailey, Club Captain of Upchurch River Valley Golf Club, together with the Lady Captain, Margaret Bailey (his wife) and the Veterans Section Captain, Dick Gunner launched a fundraising campaign to purchase a minibus for Meadowfield School, Sittingbourne.

The school is one of the leading special needs schools in the country and has about 200 pupils aged from 5 to 19 with medium, severe and complex learning difficulties.

It was anticipated the campaign may take up to 2 years to raise the funds. A club member, John Cliff, who for 13 years has been organising a charity golf day each April under the name of the Tesway Ryder Cup, joined the campaign. He has raised approximately £200,000 in thirteen years for various local charities.

In February 2011 George Bailey passed the responsibility onto his successor as Club Captain, Forbes Cutler together with the Lady Captain, Doreen Hunter and Veterans Captain Mick Stone.

The fund raising continued and thanks to the generosity of the club members, in particular Geoff French, and the owners of URVGC, David and William Barling, the target was achieved by May 2011. The minibus with appropriate sign writing was provided by Hidsons of Rainham.

On Saturday 11th June 2011 on the 20th Anniversary of the Club the minibus was presented to Mr. Philip Rankin, Principal of the School by Forbes Cutler in a short ceremony on the course attended by many members.

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