Quadruple amputee Alex Lewis has received a huge boost to his dream of playing golf again – after his hero Justin Rose personally phoned up a fund-raising auction and gave him £30,000.
Altogether more than £70,000 was raised at an event yesterday supported by friends and family and some of the golfing world’s biggest stars, including Jack Nicklaus, Martin Kaymer, Phil Mickelson and world number one Rory McIlroy.
The golfers had all donated auction prizes as a finale to a charity golf day, which was promoted on Twitter by celebrities, including Piers Morgan, Westlife and One Direction.
But it was Hampshire’s own champion Justin Rose who brought the clubhouse at Hampshire Golf Club in Andover to silence when he phoned direct from the US PGA during the day to say he wanted to personally give £30,000 to the Stockbridge dad-of-one.
The 2013 US Open champion, who cruised to victory in the recent Scottish Open, had already donated a trip of a lifetime to the Bahamas as one of the auction prizes to help fund Alex’s rehabilitation and pay for new limbs. The prize is yet to meet it’s reserve of £28,000.
Last night 34-year-old Alex, who lost all four limbs when a simple cold turned into a killer bug, was overcome with emotion at the show of support from his golfing heroes and his community.
For Alex, who fought back tears throughout the day, the most emotional moment came when a surprise video was played, which was |put together by auction organiser Sky Sports golf reporter Tim Barter. The players Alex has idolised since he first played golf age 12 before going on to play for Hampshire County Juniors with a handicap of two, left personal messages.
Among them were four major champions – Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose, who called Alex their hero and urged him to stay strong.
Martin Kaymer said it was painful to hear of Alex’s story, adding: “We will try everything we can to make it more comfortable for you and we will support you, so stay strong.”
Justin Rose, added: “Your bravery and everything you’ve been through, your attitude and how you are coping with everything has been incredible and an inspiration to us. It puts a lot of things into perspective out on the golf course.”
The event, sponsored by golf manufacturers Srixon, Cleveland and Hildon Water, was hosted by Alex’s friends Chris Bagley, Andy Taylor, Andy Snellgrove and Malcolm Jarvis and was compered by comedian Adger Brown.
Alex, said: “The golf day started from humble beginnings to a worldwide auction, which goes to show people’s generosity and willingness to give to local charities. Without crying I can’t thank everybody who was part of today enough.”