THROUGHOUT his almost 40-year career as a caddie, Billy Foster has helped some of the very best, including Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros and Lee Westwood.

Along the way, the Keighley-born bag man has collected plenty of memorabilia from his former partners and the rest of the golfing world.

Therefore, Foster decided to make the great gesture of auctioning off some of his valuable items to help those battling on the frontline through this coronavirus pandemic with the NHS.

The Bingley St Ives member donated signed Ryder Cup flags, the caddie vest he wore during his time with Woods, and a whole host of different objects a golf fan would love, to raise £34,648.

Speaking about how the idea of selling his most prized goods came about, he said: “I was watching the chaos unfolding around the world and thought, is there something I could do?

“Ten years ago, I walked 100 miles with a golf bag on my back and I raised £70,000 for Candlelighters, a children’s cancer charity. I thought I would knuckle down and do something again.

“I set off with a vision of raising £5,000. Some of the more special stuff to me I have still got, but there are certain things that were nice and I just thought, am I really going to miss them? No, so I thought I would let them go.

“Once it started, I thought I could probably raise £10,000 but to raise the best part of £35,000 is great.

“It was sent off last Friday and I got a nice picture off some of the nurses at the BRI with their thumbs up thanking me.”

It was something from another sport that Foster struggled to let go the most.

“The one thing that was really nice was a Leeds United football signed by the 1972-73 squad, with Don Revie and Billy Bremner. I thought, somebody is going to really want that, so I just let it go and it raised £3,500,” the passionate Leeds fan said.

Foster thinks the coronavirus crisis will damage most sports, and expects golf to be no different.

He said: “You can’t lose sight of the reality. I am not on the breadline, you have got to be patient and accept what it is.

“There are a lot of people in worse situations so I am trying to do my bit to help others. If it means (me) having a few months off or a year so be it. I am trying to take the positives out of this tough situation.

“I think it will have a long-lasting effect on a lot of sports. It is going to be tough the next couple of years to get sponsors because a lot of businesses are going to be hit hard by this.

“I think they will lose a lot of tournaments and prize money.

“I think it will take a few years to get it back to what it used to be. Hopefully we can get back out there before the end of the year.”