NEWCASTLE United fan and keen golfer Clive Oliphant enjoyed a 'perfect birthday,' thanks to his wife Christine.

For the civil engineer's gift to mark his 44th birthday was the chance to caddie for his footballing hero, Alan Shearer, in a celebrity charity golf pro-am event last weekend.

Mr Oliphant, a United season ticket holder and Durham City Golf Club member, carried the bag for the former England football captain over the 7,100 yard Roxburghe Golf Course near Kelso, in the Scottish Borders.

He rubbed shoulders with the great and the good, as the professionals included reigning Open champion Paul Lawrie, Spanish whizz-kid Sergio Gar-cia and Swedish star Jesper Parnevik.

Apart from Alan Shearer, the celebrities included the Duke of York, a seven handicap player, and actor Hugh Grant.

Clive won the chance to caddie for the Newcastle number nine, a 13-handicap golfer, after Christine began bidding in a local radio auction.

When it passed the £300-limit set by the Oliphants, Clive enlisted support from his businesses, BDN and Rivergreen Developments, to lodge a winning £600 bid. He attracted further donations from some of his business contacts and is hoping to reach an overall figure of £2,000, which will all go to the event's nominated children's charity, the NSPCC 'Full Stop' campaign.

Clive was given a briefing on the lie of the land at the Roxburghe course when he played a round with professional Gordon Niven earlier in the week, but he said he had not planned to offer too much advice to Alan Shearer during Sunday's competition.

The Newcastle striker, playing off 13, scored an impressive eight-over par 79, but it was no match for Sergio Garcia's match-winning course record of 65, in tranquil conditions on Sunday. "It was an excellent event and we were well entertained throughout the day. It was a perfect day."

The list of Clive's donors included building contractors WJN Quigley and Newton Moor Construction, plus Dunelm Drilling and Bishop Auckland College.