CHARITABLE golfers have raised more than £1m to help bring smiles to the faces of hundreds of disabled children.

For more than two decades, members of Helsby Golf Club have clubbed together to buy powered wheelchairs for children across Cheshire and Wirral.

The charitable golfers are celebrating smashing their £1m landmark fundraising target exactly 28 years later.

At their annual charity golf day on June 9 the fundraising group presented their 288th wheelchair to a severely disabled teenager from Sandbach.

Megan Sanderson, 13, suffers from a rare disability which causes her muscles to turn to bone, making it difficult for her to sit up in a normal wheelchair.

But after years of tireless fundraising by members of the club the youngster was presented with a specially made powered wheelchair, which should allow her to enjoy life with more independence and greater mobility.

During the annual event, where 184 residents competed for trophies and prizes in a massive golf tournament, four other children from Bebington, Warrington, Liverpool and Denton were presented with their tailor-made wheelchairs.

Speaking about smashing the landmark target secretary of the Helsby Golf Club Powered Wheelchair Appeal Penny Ainsworth said: “It makes such a massive difference to not just the children but their families as well.

“It gives them back their independence and self respect. They can get between their lessons at school, play out with their friends and enjoy new sports, as they don’t have someone pushing them around all the time.”

Formed in 1983 by Bert Dyson, who was awarded an MBE for his services to the charity, the club bought its first powered wheelchair for £641 after raising money through cheese and wine evenings, raffles and golf fun days.

Now the charity, which is made up of a nine-member committee, works tirelessly, organising bag packs, black and white banquets and charity golf days to raise cash for the wheelchairs which can cost as much as £14,000.

As well as helping hundreds of youngsters across the North West in June 2004 the club donated 30 manual wheelchairs to children who were injured during the Iraq conflict.

Now the charity is working towards presenting its 300th wheelchair with the hope of putting more smiles on hundreds of youngsters faces.

“We couldn’t do it without the support of the local people, the golf club and local companies.

“Just seeing the look on their faces and the reactions from the parents makes the hard work more than worthwhile.”