VETERANS from a Help for Heroes recovery centre in Catterick Garrison have had their final training session ahead of a pro-am golf tournament as part of the English Senior Open.

Phoenix House, which works with recovering veterans and service personnel, is charity partner to the golf tournament, held a Rockliffe Hall, Hurworth, near Darlington, from Friday (August 22).

Jason Wilkes, Gez Almond and Paul Nichol have been undergoing serious training for the last three months with Rockliffe Hall professional Martyn Stubbings before the charity pro-am event on Thursday (August 21) where they face top golfers including former Ryder Cup captains Ian Woosnam OBE, Sam Torrance OBE and Mark James.

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Mr Nichol, from Catterick, said: “I’ve always loved sports- mainly basketball and rugby. But golf is totally new for me.

“I’ve loved every minute of the coaching from Martyn who has been so patient with us and given us great tips which I can’t wait to use in the tournament - and in the future as well as I hope to keep up with my game.”

Mr Almond, from Northallerton, added: “The coaching has been about so much more than just the game of golf.

“We’ve learnt about green-keeping and etiquette as well. It’s so exciting to think we might be up against some Ryder Cup captains and I can’t wait to get on the course.”

Warwick Brindle, chairman of Rockliffe Hall, said: “It really has been brilliant watching the Phoenix House team and I can’t wait to see them in action this week.

“Everyone is fiercely competitive we’re backing the Phoenix House team to do pretty well at the pro-am as the team has shown incredible determination.”

Money raised from the pro-am tournament will go towards the Northern Echo’s £100,000 appeal for a performing arts facility at Phoenix House.

To support the appeal visit http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/campaigns/helpforheroes/donate/.