Signed Olympic shirt raises money for Gloucestershire hospital
OLYMPIC fever is returning to Cheltenham.
Ten gold medal winning athletes competing with Team GB in the summer games this year have signed a special shirt.
And now a golf society in the town is auctioning it off to help raise money for a good cause.
The collector's item, which includes stellar names such as Jessica Ennis, Ben Ainslie and Sir Chris Hoy, is set to go under the hammer this Sunday.
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The auction comes as part of a charity golf day being organised by members of the Twin Arrows golf society.
More than 40 golfers will meet up for a round at Puckrup Golf Club, near Tewkesbury, before retiring to the Greatfield pub, in Hatherley, where they will bid for the unique slice of sporting history.
Money raised from the day will go towards the paediatrics unit at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
Patrick Cox, who is helping to organise the event, said: "It's an incredible one-off piece of memorabilia which I'm sure any collector would love to have.
"I don't think there will ever be a situation again where there will be the names of so many famous Olympians on the same shirt.
"We're very lucky to have it and hopefully it should fetch a good price."
The society secured the shirt after one of its members had a chance conversation with Team GB's sports injury Dr Rod Jacques. It includes the signatures of 19 Olympians in total, including diver Tom Daly, swimmer Rebecca Adlington and cyclist Laura Trott.
The Cotswold Framing Company, near Cheltenham, offered to frame it for free and expert valuers say it could fetch up to £1,000.
"I would be delighted if we could make its valuation," added 58-year-old Patrick.
"We are extremely grateful to everyone who has helped us to secure the item and hopefully it will help us to raise plenty of money for a great cause."
Founded eight years ago, the Twin Arrows golf society was named after the emblem for Strongbow cider due to its members' love of the apple-based tipple.
Following the death of one of its players, Keith Jenkins, three years ago, at the age of 54, it started an annual golf day in his memory.
Participants are presented with a can of cider on the first tee in memory of Keith, who was known to enjoy a drop of the drink from time to time.
This Sunday will see both Keith's annual memorial day as well as a chance for members to raise money for the hospital.
The Team GB shirt will be auctioned at the Greatfield pub at 8.30pm. Bids can be made by telephone before then.
Anyone interested should contact Patrick on 07847 662569 or Chris Kelly on 07789 986119.