STRATHEARN residents have the opportunity of winning an exclusive audience with the First Minister this weekend.
The top lot at St Fillans Golf Club’s fundraising barbeque and auction on Saturday is lunch for four with Alex Salmond.
The best bidder will secure an invite to Holyrood and a nosh-up at a date to be arranged.
The offer was made to the club following a surprise visit from the VIP for a round at St Fillans last August.
Golf fan Mr Salmond turned up unannounced to play the picturesque nine-hole course with a colleague. He had been in the area visiting the Johnnie Walker tournament at Gleneagles, where he announced further funding for the clubgolf programme for junior golfers. St Fillans Golf Club was involved in a pilot scheme for the initiative and the First Minister was keen for a progress report.
Mr Salmond had played at St Fillans before and was happy to chat with members about his golf, and promised further support from professional golfers for junior golfers in the area.
He also autographed a number of items at the time to be used in future fund-raising projects.
Club manager Gordon Hibbert and gents captain Fraser Ballantyne soon got chatting with him.
“We couldn’t believe it when he offered the lunch,” said Fraser. “We thought he was kidding. It’s not often you get the chance to sit down with the First Minister. It’s a great opportunity for anyone to have the ear of Mr Salmond.”
Gordon added: “Mr Salmond said he enjoyed his golf. He’d visited St Fillans Golf Club in the past and was aware of the club’s high profile; he arrived just after Sandy Lyle had made some favourable comments about the course. He was accompanied by his wife and they enjoyed the hospitality of the clubhouse and were keen to assist with our fundraising activities. Anyone winning the top lot will have a great day out in Edinburgh.”
Other items in the auction include a green flag signed by the First Minister; golf outings to neighbouring clubs; and dinners and lunches courtesy of local restaurants and hotels. The club is still open to offers of lots, however. “I’ll be auctioning anything that’s not nailed down on the night,” joked Gordon.
The auction will be preceded by the annual captain’s team versus vice captain’s team grudge match which involves the whole club. This is followed by a barbeque and then the auction. Non-club members planning to come to the auction should contact the club beforehand.
Sealed bids can be made in advance by getting in touch with club manager Gordon Hibbert on 01764 685 312 or email email@example.com