Quadruple amputee Alex Lewis from Stockbridge has received a huge boost to his dream of playing golf again – after his hero Justin Rose phoned a fund-raising auction and gave him £30,000.
Altogether £70,000 was raised at a golf day, supported by friends and family, to help fund Alex’s rehabilitation and pay for new limbs.
Some of the golf world’s biggest stars, including Jack Nicklaus, Martin Kaymer, Phil Mickelson and world number one Rory McIlroy donated auction lots as a finale to the event, held at the Hampshire Gold Club in Andover on Wednesday.
But it was Hampshire’s own champion Justin Rose who brought the clubhouse to standstill when he phoned direct from the US PGA during the day to say he wanted to donate £30,000 to the dad-of-one, who he had played with as a junior.
The 2013 US Open champion had already donated a trip of a lifetime to the Bahamas as one of the auction lots. The holiday is yet to meet its reserve of £28,000.
Thirty-four-year-old Alex, who lost all four limbs when a cold turned into a killer bug, was overcome with emotion at the show of support from his golfing heroes and his community.
The former Hampshire County Junior player fought back tears throughout the day and the most emotional moment came when a surprise video, made by auction organiser Sky Sports golf reporter Tim Barter, was played.
The film featured messages from players Alex has idolised since he first played golf age 12. Among them were four major champions – Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose, who called Alex their hero and urged him to stay strong.
Martin Kaymer said it was painful to hear of Alex’s story, adding: “We will try everything we can to make it more comfortable for you and we will support you, so stay strong.”
Justin Rose, added: “Your bravery and everything you’ve been through, your attitude and how you are coping with everything has been incredible and an inspiration to us. It puts a lot of things into perspective out on the golf course.”
The event, sponsored by golf manufacturers Srixon, Cleveland and Hildon Water, was hosted by Alex’s friends Chris Bagley, Andy Taylor, Andy Snellgrove and Malcolm Jarvis and was compered by comedian Adger Brown.
Alex, said: “The golf day started from humble beginnings to a worldwide auction, which goes to show people’s generosity and willingness to give to local charities. Without crying I can’t thank everybody who was part of today enough.”