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Alison Johns – First lady

 

Alison Johns has set her sights on spending her reign as PGA Midlands captain as a world champion, writes Adrian Milledge.

Honoured, surprised and cautious are just three of the reactions Alison Johns experienced when she was invited to become PGA Midlands captain next year.

In doing so, Johns will be the latest in a line that began in 1965 when Jack Hargreaves, a member of the 1951 Great Britain Ryder Cup team and long-serving PGA Professional at Sutton Coldfield Golf Club, was appointed.

Fifty-one have held the role since then but, in becoming number 53, Johns, a former Ladies European Tour member and teaching pro at Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, will be the first female to do so.

“It’s a great honour for any golf pro,” said Johns, “but to be first female to captain the region makes it even more special. It’s a really good thing for women and women’s golf.”

Despite the prestige and the positive effect her appointment will have on women’s golf, Johns thought long and hard before accepting the invitation.

“I was surprised to be asked and I umed and ahed for a bit ,” admitted Johns, who was captain of The PGA in Lincolnshire in 2013.

“I really wanted to do it but I had to think about my work at Woodhall and what the role involved – how much time it would take up.”

Johns, however, is no stranger to managing work commitments with other aspects of her life, not least her participation in the biennial World Transplant Games.

“That’s a result of having a life-saving liver transplant after being given hours left to live,” she explained.

“That was 10 years ago – I was fit and healthy and I contracted an unknown virus which attacked my liver. I was given five days left to live and put at the top of the register.

“On my final day, my last few hours, they found me a good liver. It saved my life.”

Johns subsequently took part in the summer World Transplant Games in Argentina in 2015 and Spain two years ago. Moreover, she did so with great success.

“I’m the current world champion – for my age,” she revealed. “I became world champion in Argentina and successfully defended my title in Malaga.

“So I’ll be going for a hat-trick of wins when I play in my third World Transplant Games at Close House, Newcastle, in August.

“It’s great to have an event like this which shows people who are facing transplants that they can still take part in sport once they have recovered.

“For obvious reasons, making people aware of the donor register, organ donation and the good that can do in people’s lives is very important to me.”

As, of course, is the work of the medics who saved her life. To that end, there will be two beneficiaries from the proceeds of the Captain’s Charity Pro-Am Johns will host during her year in office.

“The PGA Benevolent Fund will be one,” she said. “And the transplant unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, where my life was saved is the other.”