As posted on Eastern Daily Press – original link:

Golfers whose lives are landing in the “rough” have a new ally in the clubhouse at a Norfolk coastal course.

Mundesley Golf Club has appointed a chaplain, Derek Blois, who aims to provide spiritual and emotional support to members, staff and their families – regardless of religion or the lack thereof.

The service is one of the few of its kind in Britain.

1 Derek Blois MGC chaplain.JPG.article-962Long-serving church leader Mr Blois, from Aylsham and who is a three-times-a-week golfer at the club, has taken on the role after training with Sports Chaplaincy UK.

He intends to cater to the often-overlooked spiritual and pastoral needs within the sporting arena.

Mr Blois said: “In many areas of life, particularly in sport, many aspects of people’s care are taken into account – physical, mental, social, fitness, emotional, intellectual, vocational diet etc.

“But one area that generally gets overlooked, yet is a most important one, is the spiritual and pastoral aspects, and this is where I come in.”

The 73-year-old veteran of church work will offer confidential chats to anyone facing challenges, underlining: “I am not here to preach or judge.

“I am here to listen, to chat to if needed, to support, counsel and advise if needed; a shoulder to lean against or even to cry on.”

Warren Evans, CEO of Sports Chaplaincy UK, reinforced the value of similar initiatives in sports clubs, both professional and amateur, to ease struggles ranging from health, finance to relationships.

He said: “It’s a chance to share concerns, and either give support or signpost people on to where they can got help.”

John Sewell, club chairman, said: “In these often worrying times it is good to talk and share a problem or concern and I thank Derek for committing his time to help other people.”