MONDAY marked the next phase of lockdown restrictions easing allowing golfers to get out on the course again – and one Basingstoke player is looking forward to proudly flying the flag for Ark Cancer Centre Charity.

Malcolm Leavey has been inaugurated as Basingstoke Golf Club Men’s Captain for 2021-22, and he has chosen to support Ark as one of his two charities for the next 12 months.

Malcolm should have stepped into the Captain’s shoes in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns meant his time in the prestigious post at the club was put on hold until now.

The 67-year-old father-of-three will be captain in a particularly memorable year for the club as 2021 will see it move from its home at Kempshott Park close to Junction 7 of the M3 to its new location at the current Dummer Golf Club on the other side of the motorway.

Malcolm said: “It has been a long wait but I am delighted to have been voted in as the Men’s Captain. The members are all looking forward to getting out and playing golf again, and I am really looking forward to supporting Ark Cancer Centre Charity and my other charity Canine Partners over the coming year."

He continued: “Ark is such an important local charity, and I am delighted to be able to play a part in supporting a local good cause that is helping and supporting cancer patients and their loved ones.”

Malcolm, who has been a member of the club for 21 years, has lived in Basingstoke all his life, and took up playing golf 23 years ago.

Malcolm said: “I will be holding three key fundraising events during the year. I hope to raise as much money as I can, and I am grateful to everyone who supports myself and my chosen charities over the coming year.”

Ark Cancer Centre Charity trustee Merv Rees said: “Thank you to Malcolm for this wonderful show of support for Ark. This has been the most challenging of times for charities everywhere, so community backing such as this means more than ever.

“Everyone at Ark wishes Malcolm a successful tenure as Men’s Captain. It will be a memorable and milestone year for the club, and thanks to everyone who supports Malcolm’s fundraising events and activities.”

Ark is raising £5million to help Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust colleagues deliver supportive care and complementary therapies in a cancer treatment centre that will be part of the new hospital to be built in the Basingstoke area in the second half of this decade.

Ark has already funded the creation of treatment rooms and services in a supportive care centre which will open this year in the existing Radiotherapy Unit on the Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital site.

The charity will also be funding the hire of rooms in The Ark Conference Centre for educational meetings that will enhance the support given to cancer patients and their families.