Emotions were high, as friends and family of the late Aaron Lundy, gathered for a special memorial fundraiser at Portstewart Golf Club on Friday. Last month, Times Sport exclusively revealed that the special golf day would take place to honour Aaron and raise funds for CRY – Cardiac Risk in the Young.
Aaron, who was a keen footballer and a hugely talented golfer, tragically died of a heart condition following a soccer match in Portstewart ten years ago. The then 19-year–old was one of the country's brightest golfing talents and had represented Ulster.
On Friday, the tenth anniversary of Aaron's death, friends and former golfing team mates, including Ryder Cup star, Graeme McDowell gathered for a special skins tournament. Organiser Garry McGrotty was delighted with the turn out on the day. "It was brilliant," said Garry. "It was better than we could have ever expected. "We still have money to come in, but it looks like we raised about £28,000 for CRY."
An auction held after the dinner in Portstewart Golf Club on Friday night saw amazing lots go under the hammer. Top lots included 'The Hands of Irish Golf', a frame with four signed gloves from Graeme McDowell, Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Rory McIllroy and two clubhouse passes for the 2010 open at St Andrews. On the night the auction raised over £15,000. Garry went on: "We try to do something each year on the anniversary of Aaron's death. "We usually play golf in the morning, and then go and play football in the afternoon.
"All of Aaron's mates were there for the whole event, and everyone attended the dinner on Friday night, it was quite emotional, but we were there to remember Aaron and help to raise funds for CRY. The large turn out showed just how popular Aaron was.
"Graeme McDowell, Davy Jones, Alan Dunbar and Paul Cutler put on a very entertaining exhibition, I think they showed a few boys up to be honest," joked Garry.
"It was great to see them in action, whilst at the same time raising money for a very worthy cause." Aaron's father, John Lundy, said it was very humbling to see the number of people who came out to honour his son's memory. "The response of the local community to the golf day and the evening was something I will never forget. "Every year Aaron's close friends came together to remember him, and that will always be a great comfort to us. This year it was wonderful that his former Ulster golf team mates were able to take part in this special event.
"The crowd for the golf event exceeded our expectations, and the people who attended the golf match were given a real exhibition of golf by Graeme McDowell, David Jones, Adam Dunbar and Paul Cutler." "I would like to thank the golfers and in particular, Graeme for his time and his exceptional generosity. "I would also pay tribute to Portstewart Golf Club for hosting the day's events, and Garry McGrotty who pulled the event together. Garry did a brilliant job.
John went on: "The funds raised will go towards our continuing work with CRY in promoting screening and supporting the clinic. "The reason we had the event was that ten years on from my son Aaron's death, young people are still dying from cardiac conditions, so many of which are unnecessary, many of them could have been detected by screening. "Events such as this help to remind people of the need to get screened."
Organiser, Garry went on to thank everyone who made donations on the day. He thanked the local businesses who sponsored holes, Triangle Engineering, First 4 Fruit, The Ice House, Dewalt, CP Hire, Coleraine Printing Company, CL Catering, A Diamond & Son Timber, Morelli's To Go, Diamond Recruitment, Ramore Restaurants Ltd., The McKenna Family & Couple's, Coleraine, Ivan Murdock & Son Funeral Directors, Morelli's, Portstewart, McDonalds, Coleraine, DB Building Contracts, Campbell Autoline, PVC Direct, Raferty & Boyle Solicitors, PJ Dallat & Son Funeral Directors, Railway Arms, Hugh Mullan & Co and anyone who contributed in any way to the event.
Garry also thanked John Lundy for his help in organising the event, and paid tribute to his tireless work with the CRY charity.