Sporting celebrities and business professionals clubbed together at an annual golf day held by a Coventry company to raise £17,000 for a new fund to equip soldiers with new skills for a new start.

The Wigley Support Fund has been launched by The Wigley Group to help retrain soldiers identified by the official Parachute Regiment charity Support Our Paras.

The commercial property company based in Coventry has now raised over £80,000 from The Wigley Group Golf Open & Gala Dinner over the last five years for Support Our Paras, which supports the welfare of serving and injured soldiers and their families.

For the first time, money raised from this year’s event held at Staverton Park De Vere, near Daventry, will go directly to The Wigley Support Fund to specifically help soldiers towards the cost of training for a new career.

Around 200 business professionals attended with special guest Kevin Keegan OBE, former England football player and manager, and other sporting figures including darts legends Steve Beaton, Mervyn King and Colin Lloyd.

The Parachute Regiment display team the Red Devils was due to get the day underway by landing on the course with the tournament golf balls, but had to cancel at the last-minute due to low cloud.

Children from the local Staverton CE Primary School who had been invited to watch the freefall display instead enjoyed a special fly-by and the chance to meet members of the Red Devils and Kevin Keegan.

Kevin said: “It was a great day raising money for The Wigley Support Fund which is a fantastic cause.  I have always had strong ties with the armed forces and so this is something that I support wholeheartedly. I was delighted to be part of the day.”

Former Paratrooper and TV sports announcer John McDonald hosted the event which was also attended by the first beneficiary of The Wigley Support Fund, Lance Corporal Gavin Prue, who is being helped with the cost of studying towards a career in cyber security.

Sports memorabilia including a football shirt signed by former Brazilian footballer Pelé and a boxing glove autographed by heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua were auctioned for The Wigley Support Fund during the gala dinner.

Robert Wigley, managing director of The Wigley Group, said: “This is the fifth year of our annual golf day and the first time that the money raised from it will go to The Wigley Support Fund which we have set-up to help retrain soldiers identified by Support Our Paras.

“The money raised will help many serving and injured soldiers take their first all-important step onto a new career ladder.  We couldn’t have hoped for a better start and are hugely grateful for the support and generosity of everyone who attended.

“We were delighted to have Kevin Keegan as our special guest and to welcome Bentley Birmingham and the European Golf Challenge as new event supporters.”

Pictured ready to tee-off The Wigley Group Golf Open with at the front, from left to right, LCpl Luke Hirst (Red Devils), Pte Cameron Clark (Red Devils), host John McDonald, James Davies (director, The Wigley Group), Kevin Keegan OBE, Robert Wigley (managing director, The Wigley Group), LCpl Gavin Prue (first beneficiary of The Wigley Support Fund), Capt Joseph Palmer (Red Devils).