A fairway to help a friend

IPSWICH: Little Charlie Woodage really is a putt above.

The 11-year-old is today resting aching limbs after taking to the fairway for a 12-hour session of golf to raise money for a cause close to her heart.

Charlie, from Ipswich, has only been playing the sport for four years, but she took on the golfathon challenge at Bramford Golf Centre in aid of a ten-year-old girl with leukaemia.

She raised an impressive �400, all of which will be used to pay for Kristina Tapstova, who lives with her parents and brother in Mogilev, Belarus, to travel to Ipswich after becoming close friends with Charlie last year.

The sick youngster visited England last summer thanks to the Chernobyl Children’s Life Line charity, where she stayed for two weeks with Charlie and her family.

The girls have kept in touch by e-mail and letters ever since.

Charlie, who plays off a handicap of 31, said: “Kristina is like a sister to me, she is amazing.

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“We got on so well together and share everything.”

Charlie cannot wait until she visits at Christmas time as they are hoping to go shopping and go to London during her one-month stay with the family.

Kristina and her family were affected by the aftermath of the nuclear explosions at Chernobyl in 1986, with the 10-year-old suffering from leukaemia as a result, although she is now in remission.

Charlie, who has just left St Helen’s Primary School and is about to start her first year at Ipswich High School, thought of the idea herself as she loves playing golf.

She added: “It was definitely a new experience, but very exciting.

“I was very tired near the end, but the thought of Kristina kept me going.”

Friends and family spent time going round the course with Charlie, including her mother Sarah Wilson, 44, who is a PGA professional at the Bramford Golf Centre.

Mrs Wilson said: “I think it is a really impressive achievement. As a pro I think she showed a really good attitude.”

Charlie is looking forward to a fantastic Christmas with Kristina, but it also thinking about doing another fundraiser next year so that they can bring her back to Ipswich once again.

n Have you raised money for a cause close to your heart? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.