IT was a case of tee for a lot more than two yesterday as TV presenters Ant and Dec hosted their annual charity golf tournament in their native North East.
The weather was kind to the assembled crowd of personalities from the worlds of entertainment and sport as they took in 18 holes at the very lovely (and championship standard) Slaley Hall Golf Course in Northumberland. Actors Tim Healy and Jonathan Wilkes joined former Newcastle United players such as Steve Watson, John Beresford and Robert Lee on the fairways, as the teams vied for the pride of being declared winners on the day, while raising money for a good cause.
“We enjoyed ourselves,” laughed Dec, when asked whether they had put in a golfing performance to be proud of.
“We do try to play golf a lot, but it’s usually a case of enjoying the taking part,” added Ant.
“We both play off about 20,” said Dec of their handicaps, “so not great, but we have a good time.”
Yesterday’s event was the fourth annual gathering hosted by the popular pair in aid of the Youth Ministry Team (YMT), run by Declan’s brother, Father Dermot Donnelly, of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.
The YMT offers opportunities for young people from across the North East, and is currently developing a Youth Village, within the Derwent Valley.
During the past 12 months, the residential phase of the project has been completed, providing accommodation for local schools and community groups in four chalets.
Last year’s tournament made a significant contribution to the project. Yesterday’s event will doubtless have followed suit.
“We love coming up and it’s great to see everyone and raise some money for the charity too,” said Dec, who – along with Ant – will be spending the bank holiday weekend catching up with friends and family.
The friends – full names Declan Donnelly and Anthony McPartlin – who met on BBC1 children’s drama Byker Grove 20 years ago, have spent the past 12 years presenting some of the UK’s most successful entertainment programmes.
They are currently enjoying a relatively quiet few weeks, in preparation for the upcoming live finals of Britain’s Got Talent, which will be bringing millions of viewers to ITV1 at the end of May.
“We’re doing voiceovers and stuff for the audition shows. It’s the Newcastle auditions this weekend, filmed at The Journal Tyne Theatre,” said Dec, referring to tonight’s TV instalment.
“They were really good fun. There was a great double act called Flute Magic, which pretty much is what you would expect. One of them does magic while the other one plays the flute. Brilliant.
“There’s also a great dance group called AKA... Simon (Cowell) couldn’t understand their name at all, because of the Geordie accent.
“He was winding us up, saying there wouldn’t be any talent in Newcastle,” added Ant.
“But he had to admit defeat. We found loads of it. It’s a great show.”
For more information on the work of the Youth Ministry Team, visit www.ymt.org