John Hartson was joined by a number of his footballing buddies to launch the former Celtic star’s charity golf shootout in support of the fight against testicular cancer. Former Scottish internationals Andy Goram, Frank McAvennie and Murdo MacLeod, and Waterloo Road star Shane O’Meara, helped Hartson provide a golf lesson to wrestler Graeme ‘Grado’ Stevely at the prestigious Mar Hall, in Bishopton, as the John Hartson Foundation launched its second celebrity golf day in Scotland, to be held at the same location on Tuesday, April 21.
And Hartson’s chums were each decked out in funky hats and trousers from Scotland’s most colourful clothing brand Royal & Awesome, one of the event sponsors, to help turn heads at the launch.
Stevely, who admitted he was nervous about teeing off with the former football stars, said: “I’m a terrible golfer and definitely need some lessons from John and the guys. I’ve played a few times but spend half my time caddying.
“The Foundation’s ‘grab life by the balls’ motto, which encourages guys to check for signs of testicular cancer, is one I can relate to. When I’m wrestling I always seem to end up getting injured down there, so I’m always checking myself – I do it in the bath. Like most people, I’ve had experience of family members who have been affected by cancer, so I’m delighted to help a great cause.”
Part of the event’s proceeds will go to Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research in memory of Jak Trueman, a West Lothian teenager who raised more than £40,000 for the charity just days before he sadly lost his battle with cancer.
Ex-Rangers goalkeeper Goram, who visited Jak while he was in hospital, said: “I’d support John (Hartson) in anything he does anyway, but for him to donate part of the proceeds to Jak’s charity means even more to me. It’ll be a great day for all the ex-players to get together for a great cause.”
Jak’s mum, Allison Barr, added: “We are totally overwhelmed by the support that everyone at John’s foundation has given us, and humbled and honoured by their donation in Jak’s memory. It’s very comforting to know that so many people have been touched by his story.”
Hartson set up the foundation after his 2009 battle with testicular cancer, which spread to his lungs and brain, and left him fighting for life. The charity raises awareness of testicular cancer and provides support to people with cancer and their families.
Hartson said: “We have great support from some big names and I’m really looking forward to welcoming everyone and catching up with some old friends. “I’m sure it will be a great experience for everyone involved but there’s a serious side to it all too – we’re raising awareness of testicular cancer and raising money in memory of Jak, a very brave boy whose story has inspired many people.”
A host of sports stars including former Wales international Robbie Savage, ex-Liverpool hard man Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock, and former Northern Ireland international Iain Dowie are among those who have agreed to play.
They’ll join former First Minister Lord Jack McConnell and rugby league legend Paul Sculthorpe MBE at the five-star golf resort for the all-star event. Clyde boss Barry Ferguson, former Rangers and Scotland boss Walter Smith, and Hibs head coach and ex-Celtic and Everton star Alan Stubbs will also grace the fairways to help promote the cause.
Royal & Awesome brand director Graeme Smeaton was delighted to sponsor the event. He said: “We’re always looking to help promote worthy causes. John – more than anyone – knows the harrowing effects of a life-threatening illness and it’s wonderful to be able to help raise money in memory of Jak, a very brave and inspiring boy. We are extremely happy to once again kit out the event’s competitors and, hopefully, turn heads with our bright colours to highlight a very important message.”
The golf day comprises a fourball 18-hole competition with a celebrity guest in each team, followed by a three-course gala dinner, hosted by Hartson and attended by his guests. Tickets for the dinner in the evening are also available separately.
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