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Some holes-in-one stories just can’t be believed

Mike Hanlon’s is perhaps the most moving H1 Club hole-in-one story as Pete Richardson discovered when he spoke to Mike

When 58-year-old Glaswegian Mike Hanlon aced the 209-yard Par 3, 4th hole at Clober GC in Glasgow on July 1, 2018 it was almost miraculous.

Not because of the length of the hole, nor the wind conditions or the state of the match.

Firstly, Mike’s son Michael, then aged 20, had aced exactly the same hole just five days before – a near statistical impossibility.

But secondly because just a year before Mike has spent a record 299 days in hospital awaiting, and eventually having a heart transplant.

And Mike dedicated his hole-in-one to the young man who’s tragic death enabled Mike to live – a scratch golfer called Ben Pedley.

Now Mike is British Hearth Foundation ambassador and is writing a book called “299 days for a jam tart”.

Mike said: “I had played golf from about the age of 12 and managed at one point to get down to a handicap of 3.6 but when I got into my mid-20s I stopped playing because I used to work weekends in the motor industry.

“Then ten years ago I developed a heart condition and was told at some point I would need a heart transplant.

“In July 2016 I was admitted to hospital, the amazing Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank which is the heart transplant centre for Scotland – and I waited.

“I was really ill and needed a new heart.

“Then in March, 2017 news came that one was available and I had the operation.

“I didn’t know the details at the time but the heart came from 26-year-old Ben Pedley.”

Mike’s operation was a great success and to keep up his fitness he decided to take up golf again and started playing with his son Michael.

He also discovered more about his heart donor, Ben, a gifted university student who had died in a tragic cycling accident.

And earlier this year Mike met Ben’s family and everyday he is now inspired to try and make sure he lives life to the full.

Mike said: “Ben was a scratch golfer, he spoke five languages, he was a great pianist and had cycled across the Pyrenees.  He was studying for a masters degree in chemistry when he died.

“It was Ben’s heart and I still call it Ben’s heart”.

Mike now regularly goes back to the hospital in Clydebank to talk to and give reassurance to other transplant patients.

And golf has given him a new passion – especially as he can play with his son – and he even shared Michael’s hole in one.

Mike said: “When Michael scored his hole-in-one I was playing with him. He hit a five iron and when it went in the hole, we were jumping about like 5-year-olds.

“Then I was playing with a friend in a competition at the weekend and I hit a four iron on the same hole with a little fade and people on the next tee started jumping about.

“We both now wear our Boss Watches with pride – I wear mine when I do my part time job in a golf shop.

“And I love the watch even more because of the green on the face because I’m a Celtic man”.

But Mike’s thoughts are always with heart donor Ben and the fact that he had renewed his organ donation card just a couple of months before he died.

Ben’s organ’s have been used to save five lives now.

And Mike is determined that he will savour every moment of the life that Ben was able to give him – and do as much as he can to encourage others to become donors.

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