Whilst overflying Windsor Castle en route to landing at London’s Heathrow back in 1999, I glimpsed a golf course nestling in the Castle grounds, a course that is hidden from view from the surrounding roads. Upon investigation I discovered that this little gem of a course, literally in the back yard of the Castle, was used solely by the Royal Household and staff. It occurred to me that if Her Majesty The Queen would give permission for the course to be used once per year as part of a prize to be offered by a charity, it could be a vehicle for raising substantial sums. With this in mind I approached Mr. Terry Regan, whom I knew to have been active in raising funds under the patronage of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. We agreed to work together to form a charity which would raise funds through golf by offering the opportunity to play at Windsor. With this in mind, Terry approached HRH, who not only agreed, with alacrity, to obtain the Queen’s permission to use the course, but also to launch the international golf charity under his name. In addition HRH kindly agreed to be Founding Sponsor of International Golf for Youth, and also to facilitate our use of the State Rooms at Windsor Castle for the annual prize giving dinner, which he graciously agreed to attend.
The annual Duke of Edinburgh Cup international amateur golf series for charity was thus founded, and has gone on to help young people all over the world. Available funds support established and secure charities that help young people overcome isolation, those who are in need of special help to turn around their lives, those who are in physical danger or oppression, to help those who have been scarred by war, and often, those who need medical care. We support proven charities which are run by people we trust.
Our very first event was in Portugal in April 2001. Hosted by International Trustee, Andrè Jordan at his golf course in Belas near Lisbon.
This inaugural, and very successful, event was attended by Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex, and they have consistently supported us since. Through the following years we have had the continued benefit of so many events. As in Portugal, all are organized by local volunteer organisers, and since that launch we have held events in the Azores, Bahamas, South Africa, Mauritius, Canada, Dubai, United Kingdom, Barbados, Czech Republic, USA, Brazil, Madeira, Germany, Trinidad and Tobago, and Japan and, no doubt, a few more that I have missed.
Charitable funds made available from our events are mostly passed immediately to pre-approved local charities. Any remaining funds are allocated by the Trustees for particular projects for young people, and the Trustees choose charities which have good records locally.
Our annual international amateur golf events are held under R & A and USGA rules, dependent on location, and we are exceptionally grateful to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh for his continuing support and the great value that the use of his name and his royal cypher give to our tournaments. Each year to date, we have also received truly excellent support, and many visits to events, from Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex. They regularly attend our World Finals Dinner at Windsor Castle, and without their personal support we would be seriously diminished.
We do not have any paid staff, premises or other overheads, but rely heavily on our consultant Director of Golf, our unpaid Trustees, and the wonderful volunteers who run most of our events, as well as numerous sponsors in various countries around the world. We also owe a great debt of gratitude to our past Chairman, Mr. Terry Regan, for his ongoing support. In the last eleven years we have raised and distributed over $5,000,000 to charities, none of which would have been available if we had not existed, and I cannot thank enough all those who have made it possible.