The Mark Bassant Festival Trophy 2023

Thursday 6th July saw the first playing of the Mark Bassant Festival Trophy between the golfers of Group 5 (Maidstone, Cranbrook, Paddock Wood & West Malling) and those within Group 8 (Margate, Ramsgate, Birchington & Broadstairs).

This year, each Area Chairman has been tasked with hosting an additional event to raise funds for the Province of East Kent 2025 Festival. With this in mind Julian Friel (Group 5) and Jim Mason (Group 8) set to work and with the assistance of APGM Mark Bassant, created a fun day on the golf course which not only generated a fantastic sum for the Festival, but offered an opportunity for the Brethren to make new friendships and renew old ones.

Groups ready to tee off for the golf match

The London Beach Golf Club near Tenterden was the venue for this Ryder Cup style showdown and sixteen of East Kent’s finest golfing “talents” duly tee’d it up and did battle for the Mark Bassant Festival Trophy.

We were blessed with fine weather, but a light breeze made some club selection challenging and the fairways were running fast despite the recent rain. The course at London Beach is tricky for the first-time visitor and requires accuracy over length with various water hazards placed strategically to gobble up any errant shot, but the greens were true, and some great scoring was evident.

Picture of Julian Friel taking his first shot at the first tee

The first match away was Nigel Mann vs Julian Friel (pictured in the red top) and with both tee shots finding the fairway, the scene was set for a great day’s golf. Every pairing produced an even match with no one player dominating, in many of the matches the lead changed hands on several occasions and three matches were only finally decided on the 18th green. Along the way we had stories of monster putts being holed, a ball stuck in a tree, a nearest the pin for WBro Mark Costelloe and longest drive from Julian. The individual winner of the day was WBro Jeff Neil of Royal Navy Lodge in Ramsgate – with a terrific 42 points.

But we had to wait with bated breath for the scorecards to come in before we knew which team would be presented with the magnificent Festival Trophy kindly donated by Mark Bassant.

The final result was an emphatic 7 – 1 victory for Group 8 and they will now keep the Festival Trophy until next year, when I’m informed “a successful defence will take place”?

But the overall winner of this day has to be the 2025 Festival. An amazing £1,290 was raised and will be presented in due course.

Our sincere thanks to everyone who gave up their time to support this day and to make it the success that it was, and we look forward to next year, and a bigger and better hosting of the Festival Trophy.

 Blow by Blow account compiled by Bro. Nigel Mann (Royal Arch Charity Coordinator Group 8)

Picture of Nigel Mann collecting his trophy from Mark Bassant


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