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MLF Memorial Tournament Passes $700,000 Raised in 13 years for Local Health Care

From left, the team of Nick Spaling, Scott Cherrey, Tyson Cherrey, Tim Clark and Brian Debeyer were the winners of this year's Mary Lynne Forrest Memorial Golf Tournament with a score of 17-under par.


PIKE LAKE – On July 19 a total of 146 golfers hit the links at Pike Lake Golf Centre to enjoy a great day of golf, and pay tribute to a dear friend and family member, at the 13th annual Mary Lynne Forrest (MLF) Memorial Golf Tournament.

This year’s event had a goal of raising $50,000 for the Palmerston and District Hospital Foundation to assist with the purchase of a mobile x-ray unit for the Palmerston and District Hospital.

Greg Shaw, a member of the organizing committee for this year’s MLF tournament, said the committee is optimistic that goal will be reached.

“We’re still finalizing some numbers, but we’re optimistic,” he said on July 20.

The MLF tournament has raised more than $700,000 in 13 years for the Louise Marshall Hospital Foundation and the Palmerston and District Hospital Foundation.

Adding to the atmosphere at this year’s event was the lack of electricity, as a dump truck hit a hydro pole north of Mount Forest earlier in the day, knocking out the power at Pike Lake and much of the surrounding area.

“It was about 3 p.m. and someone asked me what we were going to do, and I said, ‘it is what it is,’” said Shaw.

When the time came to start cooking and there was still no sign of power, Shaw said that it became “a throwback to the old days.”

“We moved everything outside,” said Shaw. “The kitchen staff were awesome and cooked everything outside on the grill, we ate off of paper plates, and everyone just came together to make sure the event went on.”

“It was a really cool atmosphere,” he added. “It was like a throwback to the old days of Pike Lake when everyone did what they had to do, no matter what their title was.”

The live auction, conducted by Barry Gray from Gray’s Auction Service in Harriston, was once again a success. Featured items this year included an autographed Auston Matthews jersey, box seats to a Justin Bieber concert, an Olympic golf flag signed by the 2016 Canadian Olympic golfers, and David Hearn’s Canadian Olympic team golf bag, signed by the former Pike Lake junior member.

“It couldn’t have went any better, even if we did have power,” said Shaw. “It was a great day, and we’re grateful for the support of the sponsors, donors and golfers.”

Dale Franklin, development officer for the Palmerston and District Hospital Foundation, said that the foundation is grateful for the Forrest family and the MLF tournament.

“We’re grateful for the commitment to local hospitals shown by George Forrest and the organizing committee of the Mary Lynne Forrest Memorial Golf Tournament,” said Franklin. “George and his daughters Brandy, Christa and Sheree, along with their team at Pike Lake, will be providing a huge kick start to the campaign to purchase a mobile x-ray Unit for the Palmerston and District Hospital.”

The mobile x-ray machine s digital, and Franklin says it will provide improved imaging, and be much faster than traditional methods. She also said that it will be agile enough to be moved easily throughout the hospital.

“This will allow this vital diagnostic service to be brought directly to the bedside of patients who are too seriously ill or injured to be assessed by standard x-ray technology,” she said.

Franklin explained that the funds raised from the MLF tournament is the start of the fundraising campaign for the mobile x-ray unit, with this coming fall’s Radiothon campaign also setting a goal to fundraise for the machine. It is hoped that the hospital will be able to purchase the machine and bring it into use this year in Palmerston.

“Seeing smiling faces and receiving hugs from so many people that were so much a part of my mom is what it is all about for us,” said Christa Cherrey in a post on Facebook following the event. “We were raised surrounded by family and friends, and friends who are family, and we thank you for making this day so special for us… Thank you to all the golfers, volunteers, those who donated prizes, live and silent auction items, cash donations, hole sponsors, corporate sponsors - none of the tournaments success would be possible without all of you.”


This year’s MLF tournament also marked the end of an era, as Dave “Benny” Benn officially ended his tenure with the tournament committee.

Benn started with the event 28 years ago, back when it was the Special Olympics fundraising tournament. That event morphed in to the MLF 13 years ago, with Benn at the helm along with George Forrest.

During a brief speech at the MLF tournament, Benn encouraged the younger people in attendance to start volunteering in the community, as he sees a shortage of younger volunteers not just at the tournament, but at various other fundraisers and groups as well.

“It’s amazing the commitment he has given to this event, and to committee,” said Shaw. “The MLF tournament wouldn’t be where it is today without the contributions of Benny.”

by Mike Wilson - Minto Express


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