UNCERTAINTY surrounding large gathering restrictions during COVID-19 has forced the postponement of the 2020 Shipping Industry Golf Challenge.

Organisers have deferred the 2020 event, scheduled for Tuesday October 20, to Tuesday April 20, 2021, following a decision by the Mona Vale Golf Club to cancel all corporate days and charity golf days for the remainder of this year.

Golf day spokesman, Peter Attwater, said the club’s decision was “disappointing but understandable” in the current public health environment.

“We attempted to source alternative venues but all are reluctant to cater for a group of our size (more than 100) without imposing extremely difficult operating conditions,” he said.

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“We also felt that between now and our original date of October 20, it is highly likely that further restrictions would be re-imposed and also that some of our intended players would feel uncomfortable in gathering in such a large group.

“We felt the more sensible option would be to defer our event to early next year when hopefully the situation will be far less volatile,” he said.

Mr Attwater said the organisers had been overwhelmed with the early sponsorship response to the 2020 event with more than $35,000 being pledged from major sponsors as well as hole sponsors.

“We will be contacting all of our sponsors and players and hopefully, they will maintain their support through to the 2021 event,” he added.

“While we are naturally disappointed that our unbroken run of 29 years has come to an end, it certainly won’t be the end of our golf day and support for the Westmead Children’s Hospital – we are determined to add to our $703,000 we have raised so far and we look forward to picking up again in 2021,”he added.

Westmead Children’s Hospital senior paediatric oncologist Geoffrey McCowage said it was sad but understandable that the golf day would not be taking place.

“Like so many areas of the world, COVID19 has wrought havoc upon the Shipping Industry: for an industry of imports and exports, border controls and customs, 2020 has been a bad, bad year,” Mr McCowage said.

“The annual golf day might have been a welcome break from all of this, but with interstate travel banned, affecting golfers and sponsors alike, and large groups also not permitted, sadly this is not to be. After 29 straight years.”

Mr McCowage said the Oncology team at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead were “deeply grateful for the heroic efforts of the organising team to try to make the day happen in 2020, and for the incredible long-term support over these decades”.

“Once we emerge from this pandemic, we look forward once more to seeing old friends, getting out on the course, and enjoying what is not only a great day, but also a great support for our patients and our work,” he said.

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