CHARITABLE golfers have been praised by Paralympians and other sportsmen after 30 years of selfless fundraising helped to inspire a generation and transform the lives of hundreds of disabled children.

Over the past three decades members of Helsby Golf Club have raised more than £1m and helped transform the lives of hundreds of Cheshire children by giving them specially made powered wheelchairs.

Now the fundraisers, who were named Champion of Champions at the Trinity Mirror/ScottishPower Your Champions awards last year, have been praised by sporting stars for their success in the crusade to inspire disabled youngsters with their ‘selfless’ and ‘successful’ fundraising efforts.

During an evening filled with music and laughter the golfers were joined by sporting stars Mark Eccleston and Peter Alliss as they presented three new powered wheelchairs to youngsters.

Mark Eccleston, who won a silver medal in the tennis doubles at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens, spoke about overcoming his disabilities and representing his country in the National Wheelchair Games.

The Paralympian, who also captained the GB rugby team at the World Championship finals and the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics thanked members of the club for donating chairs to disabled youngsters he teaches at Chesnut Lodge in Widnes.

Mark, who has won seven national tennis titles and was the first British player to become number one in the world, explained the life-changing difference that a chair makes in giving disabled youngsters independence and self confidence.

And legendary TV golf commentator Peter Alliss congratulated the fundraisers for the work they have done to donate more than 300 chairs to children with special needs.

He said that Helsby was the most successful member of his crusade to improve the quality of life of youngsters born with disabilities, the Peter Alliss Masters Golfing Society.

Helsby Golf Club spokesman Kathryn Hoather thanked everyone who attended the evening and made it such a success, and said: “The evening raised more than £2,500, which will go toward the next powered wheelchair for a deserving youngster.

“The committee of the appeal offer their thanks to all those who supported us on the night.”