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Love for Libby Charity Golf Day at West Essex Golf Club

Golf, dinner and an auction at the West Essex Golf Club certainly drew in the crowds recently, not least because it was to raise vital funds for a cause very close to one Buckhurst Hill family's heart

Libby and PalsNot even a 20-minute rain shower could dampen the spirits at the recent charity golf day held at the West Essex Golf Club in Chingford, such were the players' passion and enthusiasm for the cause they were supporting.

The event, which attracted a fair few celebrity faces including Teddy Sheringham, was to raise funds for Antony Nolan, the charity set up to save the lives of people with blood cancer who need a stem cell (or bone marrow) transplant. It had been organised by local family, the Cotts, as part of their Love for Libby campaign which began last year as a result of their first-hand experience of the incredible work Antony Nolan does in connecting unrelated donors with people who desperately need a transplant.

The Cotts FamilyBack in the autumn of last year, 12-year-old Libby Cotts was a typical sports-mad school girl, living life to the full. However, her world was to be turned upside down when one afternoon she was hit on the hand while playing hockey. Libby bruised so badly that alarm bells immediately rang with the school nurse, who suggested to Libby's parents, Gemma and Paul, that they get her checked out as a matter of urgency.

A blood test revealed that there was indeed something very wrong with Libby, whose immune system was so severely compromised it was practically non-existent. She was immediately taken to Great Ormond Street Hospital where further investigation revealed she was suffering from aplastic anaemia, a serious blood condition where the bone marrow and stem cells do not produce enough blood cells. It was a devastating diagnosis and one made even worse when tests revealed that neither Gemma, Paul and Libby's little sister Sienna were a suitable match for the stem cell transplant required to save Libby's life.

That's when the Antony Nolan charity stepped in, finding Libby a suitable donor from its register. By December, two months after diagnosis, Libby was all set for her transplant when tragically, the donor became unavailable. It was at this point that the Cotts family discovered that due to the pandemic, Antony Nolan was experiencing a serious short fall in funds resulting in the charity struggling to process the thousands of people who had recently registered, one of whom could be a match for Libby.

Love Island's GeorgiaThus, the Love for Libby appeal was born, and within just a matter of weeks it had gone viral. Lead by mum Gemma and a small army of close family friends known as Team Libby, the campaign quickly attracted celebrity attention, with John Terry and Love Island's Georgia Harrison among the first to show their support. Appearances on national radio and TV quickly followed and before long fundraising had topped the £200,000 mark.

Libby and Teddy SheringhamThankfully Libby did eventually receive a successful transplant in February this year, while the appeal that helped save her life also goes from strength to strength. Indeed, the recent Love for Libby Golf Day added an incredible £70,000 to the coffers, a figure that far exceeded all expectations. Described by mum Gemma as: 'The most incredible day, filled with love, generosity and most importantly fun,' Libby herself was even able to attend thanks to the indefatigable Team Libby being on hand to assist her throughout the day and night.

Charity GolfSponsorship was important to the event's success, and Butler & Stag were delighted to get on board by sponsoring the fourth hole. They also couldn't resist placing a winning bid on a golf trip in the evening's auction, with lots also including a signed framed picture from Chigwell's snooker ace Ronnie O'Sullivan and the chance to accompany Teddy Sheringham on a round of golf for four at the prestigious Princes Club.

All in all a great event for an even greater cause!

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