Three teenage Leighton golfers who have won a national title have been praised by the town’s Mayor Councillor Clive Palmer for being “excellent ambassadors and a credit to their sport, their families and their community.”
Vandyke Upper school students Ed Stephenson, Andres Valentine and Brandon Waddington won the Bedfordshire Schools team championships to qualify for the English Schools national team finals held at the home of English golf, Woodhall Spa – and returned home as the national champions.
The Buzzard boys beat the best from 35 other counties, with students from Gravesend Grammar school in Kent runners up, three points behind the three Leighton lads who won with 76 points in an event where the top two scores counted.
Meeting the trio of champions at Leighton’s Plantation Road club where they are all junior members, Cllr Palmer confessed he “was not a golfer” but said the success of the Vandyke students was outstanding, given that Bedfordshire, with just 23 clubs, was one of smallest counties in the country.
“We are very proud of your success; it’s an outstanding achievement,” said Cllr Palmer, who was challenged to a two-ball putting competition – and, much to his own surprise, holed his second attempt from 15ft.
Cllr Palmer was met at the club by President Keith Cox, Captain Jeremy Taylor, Ladies Captain Patti Marriott and junior organisor Adrian Stephenson.
Also present were Vandyke headteacher Tim Carroll and Bedfordshire Schools golf administrators, secretary David Sweetnam and treasurer Paul Johnson, both former Leighton-based teachers and members of Leighton Buzzard Golf Club.
Club president Keith Cox said: “It was very generous of the Mayor to take time out from his busy schedule to congratulate the boys. They will remember that moment with pride for many years to come.”
Added Vandyke headteacher Mr Carroll: “We are very proud of the boys; they have demonstrated just what can be achieved against the toughest of odds.”