Charity golf ban for sexist star

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The Independent Online
Johnny Briggs, who plays Mike Baldwin in the TV soap Coronation Street, has been barred from a celebrity golf event by a charity disgusted by his recent controversial remarks about women players, it was revealed yesterday.

The Lady Taverners, the celebrity fundraisers, are to write to tell Mr Briggs that he will not be welcome at the golf tournament, due to be held at a top Shropshire course.

The actor caused outrage last week when he wrote that women were "an abomination on the golf course" and described them as swarming over clubs "like cockroaches".

Rachael Heyhoe Flint, organiser of the tournament, which is due to be held on 16 September at the exclusive Patshull Park Hotel, near Wolverhampton, announced the ban on BBC Radio 5 Live's Breakfast Programme yesterday morning, denouncing the actor's comments as "insulting and absolutely ignorant".

Later, the cricketer said that she hoped other charities would follow the Lady Taverners' lead in banning the star from their events.

She said: "The organisers felt that it was inappropriate for an event run by a ladies' committee and involving lady players to invite someone who has made such insulting remarks.

"I would hope that other charities where lady golfers are involved will think similarly. These events are a very nice day out for celebrities involved, with a free round of golf on a fantastic course. Maybe Johnny's golf will, in future, be restricted to his own club at Stourbridge."

Mr Briggs has played in the event in previous years, and the organising committee recently wrote to ask him whether he would be available to play again this year, said Mrs Heyhoe Flint, the former England captain.

The actor wrote back to say that he would like to participate, if he could fit the tournament in between filming episodes of Coronation Street, but will now receive a letter telling him his presence is no longer requested.

The annual tournament - dubbed the "Joan Morecambe Celebrity Classic" in honour of the comedian Eric's widow, the event's patron and president of the Lady Taverners - has raised pounds 50,000 over the last seven years to buy minibuses for people with special needs.

Celebrities expected to participate at this year's event include the former Goodie, Tim Brooke-Taylor, the Warwickshire cricketer, Gladstone Small, the former Wolverhampton Wanderers and England striker, John Richards, and ex-England cricketer Fred Rumsey.

Also playing will be professional golfers Beverly Lewis, Chris Langford and Christine Holt.