HIGHLAND HEROES: Driving force behind disability golf club Ronnie Mitchell recalls 'absolutely brilliant' night
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AS is often the case with those who get involved in volunteering, it was circumstances close to home that inspired Ronnie Mitchell to get in the swing of trailblazing wider access to golf.
Our current Highland Heroes' volunteer of the year has always been a keen golfer and was often accompanied on the course by his son David.
At first sitting in the golf buggy David, who has learning disabilities, was aged six when he picked up a golf club for the first time and basically never looked back.
In 2005 he won gold at the Special Olympics held that year in Glasgow and it was this triumph that inspired his father to launch the Highland Disability Golf Club, dedicating himself to helping others with learning disabilities to take part in the sport.
Mr Mitchell's award was enthusiastically cheered by supporters and well-wishers and it was clear he was a popular winner well-regarded for all he has done.
Looking back on the feelgood awards' event, the 77-year-old, from Inverness, said: "The night was absolutely brilliant. I took all of my coaches and everybody to it.
"I don't class myself as a hero – I said that at the time. We've had a great season. One of the biggest problems we have is that we are so far away from everywhere else. I am looking at some sort of competition involving Wales, Ireland, England and Scotland. All of the guys involved get on great so that's something we are certainly looking at."
He said Highland golfers continue to do well and make great progress.
Closer to home, his son David won his category of the Scottish Open staged at Muir of Ord and a number of other players also made their mark in a variety of categories.
He organises everything players need including transport and uniforms as well as running awards nights and raising the money the club needs to function.
One of those who nominated him at the time said: "One of those who nominated him as a Highland Hero said: “He does all this selflessly and that’s why I and countless others consider him a Highland hero.!
Ronnie just sees it as "something I love doing".
While he clearly loves the game, he's not able to play as he would like due to issues with his legs.
But he remains a real driving force for the group and looks back with gratitude on the evening he received recognition as an unsung Highland Hero.
He said: "I'm thankful for anyone who can help me."
You can nominate your Highland Hero 2024, choosing from across 14 categories, here.
The closing date for nominations is December 17.