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FOR THE 14th year in succession Diamonds International and Royals Westmoreland will be joining forces to assist Verdun House in making a financial dent in the annual $1.2 million needed to run the St John facility. Both Diamonds International and Westmoreland, in conjunction with a host of corporate partners, will once again be staging the Substance Abuse Foundation Charity Golf event at Royal Westmoreland Golf and Country Club on Wednesday, with the aim of raising a minimum of $100 000 for Verdun House. Pauline Tully, a member of the board of directors of the Substance Abuse Foundation and organizer of the tournament, said that in spite of the economic crunch worldwide, the 2011 edition had received generous support from members of both the local and international corporate community. She added that the event had seen the likes of Sir Garry Sobers and Desmond Haynes taking part, and this edition had attracted professional golfing legend and 1986 Masters champion Ian Woosnam. Each team of four players contributes $6 000 to the cause, with 16 teams already confirmed and every effort being made to reach the minimum of 18 teams. Individuals can also compete at a cost of $1 500, and for the first time in five years a junior team will be taking part. Last year’s event was won by team Diamonds International. Marketing manager of Diamonds International, Simone Ward, said that top-class items such as watches and golfing paraphernalia would be at stake in an event which plays a vital role in helping to tackle drug problems in the island. Chairman of Verdun House, Norman Barrow, expressed thanks to the supporting companies and individuals, as the proceeds from the event, as well as an unnamed benefactor, were mainly responsible for keeping the institution open. Barrow said that Verdun, which has gone green for 2011, played a large role in self-maintenance since almost all of its food is grown or prepared by the members or patients at the centre. The chairman added that the work being carried out at Verdun House had been recognized abroad, with the centre receiving an international accreditation in 2009. “Barbados is a tourist destination, and Verdun House plays a great role in rehabilitating individuals who have fallen prey to various drugs. We help to keep such individuals off of the streets, where they might be creating negative publicity for the country through criminal activities,” he added. Both Barrow and Tully expressed thanks to Royal Westmoreland for loaning its golf and country club to the fund-raiser.