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Westshore Charity Golf Tournament exposes the giving heart of the community

A master class in networking and generosity raises funds for a host of projects 

In what could have been billed as a master class in networking, fundraising and caring, the 28th annual Westshore Charity Golf Tournament took place on Thursday evening (June 13) at Bear Mountain Golf and Tennis Resort.  

By the time the evening was done, the tournament managed to raise enough money to help fund some 24 charitable causes. While many of those causes were initiatives that benefited West Shore communities, funds were also raised to address needs of a more global nature. 

For example, locally, some of the money raised will go to the Goldstream Food Bank, while some will go to SportAssist (which is committed to making sport accessible to Langford youth), and yet more will help the Victoria Hospital Foundation. 

But funds are also being contributed to Another Brick in Nepal, a program to rebuild Nepal schools that have been destroyed by natural disasters. 

“Back when I started this tournament, there wasn’t much happening with charities in Langford and we started with a few,” said tournament founder and former Langford Mayor, Stew Young. “But it grew over time to where we are today.” 

One of the major recipients of funds from the tournament was a project identified by Young and two of his main tournament partners – former RCMP officer Bruce Brown and former Langford Fire Chief Bob Beckett – and came in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

“We went to the Ukraine and visited the schools, the orphanages, and the hospitals and we built a relationship with the people there to find out what the needs were and how we could help,” said Young. 

The cause that they came away with was a breast milk facility that was desperately needed. It seems that, since the war started, the number of premature babies being born in the Ukraine has increased ten-fold and there’s an urgent need for breast milk to help keep those tiny infants alive. 

“We had to raise $50,000 for that facility and we’ve managed to raise $16,000 so far. But tonight, thanks to this tournament, we’ll be giving them a cheque for the remaining $24,000,” Young said. 

The other major charity targeted by this year’s tournament was the Westshore Primary Care Society. They’ve been working to recruit and help bring nine doctors from the U.K. to work as family physicians in the West Shore.  

Alyssa Andres, who was at the tournament representing the Society, explained that she and her Board of Directors have recognized the urgent need for doctors in the community and have been working tirelessly to help alleviate the lack of physicians. 

“By bringing in these doctors, we can provide care to some 11,000 residents who are now without doctors,” Andres said. 

When the presentations began, however, only $25,000 of the $175,000 needed had been generated. 

And that was where Stew Young demonstrated his extraordinary ability to connect to the heart and generosity of the community. 

Standing at the podium, he invited attendees to open their hearts (and wallets) to make up for the shortfall. One by one, representatives of West Shore businesses and some private citizens rose to pledge additional funds. The total raised kept climbing until, when the total had reached $153,000 ($22,000 short of the goal) Young pledged $10,000 of his personal funds and invited others to help meet the goal. 

With that impetus, the $175,000 mark was quickly met and exceeded. 

Asked about the success of the tournament and the demonstrated generosity of those in attendance, Young said that he wasn’t surprised. 

“I grew up in Langford and my family has lived here for a long time. I’ve been here for 64 years, and I know the people and the community. These are wonderful people and, in my 30 years as mayor of Langford, I know that I always wanted to make the community better. I also know that it’s a caring community that is willing to help others, anywhere in the world.” 

Young credits the many volunteers who helped make the golf tournament a success and the many people whose tireless work makes the community a special place. 

“For example, when 911 happened, Bob Beckett, Bruce Brown and I went to New York to see what we could do to help. Bruce and Bob also went to the Ukraine and are going back in Sept.,” Young said. 

“Bruce went to Afghanistan during the war there and we arranged to train Afghan fire chiefs here in Langford. When the earthquake happened in Haiti in 2021, we went there with others to help rebuild an orphanage, a church and a school. That’s just the kind of people they are,” Young said. 

“We have people here tonight who were at the first tournament 28 years ago and who are still supporting us today. It’s amazing, and it shows just how special this community is and how much it cares.” 

As always, anyone wishing to contribute to the Ukraine project, or the health care initiative can still contribute to the Westshore Charity Golf Tournament by dropping off a cheque at the Langford Fire Hall.