Cindy putts in support

Cynthia ‘Cindy’ Crutchley has given her life to Special Olympics.

Crutchley, 72, has been involved for over 20 years and saw her family commit to promoting Special Olympic athletes. The UK native, hailing from Plymouth in Devon, states support for the cause, especially Special Olympics Cayman Islands, needs to continue.

“It is so very important, I have seen it grow over the last 20 to 25 years,” Crutchley said. “At first, there were 20 Special Olympic athletes and now there are over 100. More and more people recognize that children and adults can have something to excel in.

“By sending them to world competitions like the world aquatics championship, it exposes Cayman as a leader. I hope it continues to grow as Eric would look down from heaven and be very proud.”

Crutchley made her remarks at the second annual Eric Crutchley Memorial Golf Tournament, which honours her late husband. Eric, a SOCI supporter who hailed from the UK town of Reading in Berkshire, passed away two years ago. Some 31 teams of four golfers stormed the North Sound Golf Club, which featured businessmen like Tony Crescente and star local players like Samantha Widmer.

Governor Duncan Taylor served as the tournament patron, joining Cayman National Bank Executive Vice President Brian Esau and SOCI chairman Nick Freeland for the ceremonial tee off.

Crutchley states golf held a special place in her husband’s heart.

“Eric was 71 when he passed away in February 2011. He loved golf. He wasn’t the best at it but he enjoyed it. He would come back from chemotherapy and do golf.”

Private sector support was on display with Aon showcasing a car at one of the holes, the Red Cross setting up a information booth and CNB staging a putting challenge with a brand-new putter as the prize.

A raffle and other competitions were on offer. In all, about $40,000 was raised with those tournament proceeds being used to fund the training and participation of Cayman’s Special Olympic athletes in local and international events.

Last September, swimmer Andrew Smilley won gold in the 800 metres freestyle at the first Special Olympics World Aquatics Invitational in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Kanza Bodden also took part in the 100m free and 100m backstroke.

Cindy keeps the Crutchley family linked to Special Olympics alongside sons Jonathan, 35 and Michael, 36. She states her wish is that more people step forward to genuinely help the cause.

“To encourage other people, they have to see you love it. It has to be something that you love doing from the heart.”