Tee off for Clark: Join fight against cancer at Jumeirah Estates
Sport is life for a lot of people but every now and then something happens that makes you realise that a few things are more important.
After the untimely death of Mike Clark – a former amateur footballer in the UAE who was in his early 30s – from bowel cancer, his friends have made it their mission to hold a sporting event in his honour to raise money to help fight the silent killer.
As Clark worked at Jumeirah Golf Estates, it seemed only apt that a friendly golf competition should be held at the Earth Course before a night of fund-raising.
Around 20 teams have already signed up for the event starting on January 17 with the Jumeriah Golf Estates and competition organisers expecting another five teams.
Entry for the event is Dh300 per head – to cover for venue fees amongst other costs as well as growing sponsorship interest – and competition is already well on its way to raise sufficient money.
“Sponsorship has gone really well. We already have six or seven holes sponsored and in terms of prizes and auction material, an unbelievable amount has been donated like Virgin flights, a round of golf with David Howell and memorabilia from the Ryder Cup,” said organiser Chris Smerdon.
“We’re almost there I think, we are just looking for a few more sponsors and then obviously we’re trying to get everything in place.
“It’s all a bit manic with people e-mailing us all week saying ‘we can donate this, we can donate that’ – we’re up to about 75-80 prizes to auction off and that grows by the day.
“We can accommodate about 100 players and we already have 80 players. So anyone who is interested in joining is more than welcome.”
The day starts with a shotgun start at 12:30 at the Earth Course with the competition moving away from the initial Ryder Cup format to a Stapleford competition.
“We have 20 odd teams so a Ryder Cup format would have been a bit difficult to work out,” said Smerdon.
The family of Mike Clark is expected to fly to Dubai to witness the event which for Smerdon is more than a one-off event.
“Hopefully we can make this an annual event. You know you don’t hear many fund-raisers for cancer around Dubai so we would like to do this as an annual thing and maybe get bigger and bigger each year.
“Mike and I played football together and we played on opposite wings, so we had a lot of fun and a lot of banter together. My dad died of the same cancer as Mike a couple of months ago so this is why I thought I would be happy to arrange something to raise money.
“To get cancer and die at that age is very sad and I think some of his family members are coming over for the day. He was a kind and honest guy who never did things by halves.”
The money raised will be going to a UK-based hospice that looked after Clark in his final days.
WHAT: Friendly golf competition in the memory of Mike Clark to raise funds for charity
WHEN: January 17 from 12:30
WHERE: Jumeirah Golf Estates, Earth Course