Cameron Fincher has rubbed shoulders with ex-footballers, TV celebs and even a former Prime Minister in the past few months.
But the winner of the Hero’s handshake award for October is never happier than when on his local course at Kings Hill in Kent chipping and putting away to his heart’s content.
He attends coaching sessions at his own club and also at Leeds Castle and this year claimed the title as World Crazy Golf champion during a fun event in Hastings.
However, all that seemed a pipe-dream after he fell ill in 2018.
Young Cameron has just celebrated his 10th birthday – and it was a party dad Dave, mum Debbie and twin sister Megan were happy to share with him.
Some 18 months ago Cameron’s life and that of his family was turned upside down when he took ill and was rushed to hospital before being placed in a High Dependency Unit.
Doctors eventually diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes and after a harrowing few days, Cameron’s strength of character helped to pull him through.
When nurses started to explain the details of his illness, Cameron’s first thoughts were could he keep playing and how quickly could he return to golf?
After building up his fitness, regaining his strength and re-discovering his confidence, Cameron is now back playing the sport he loves.
As well as coping with his illness and getting back into golf, Cameron has found time to raise awareness and funds for the JDRF charity (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).
Along with devoted sister Megan he ran a 5k race in the summer and posts regularly on social media to highlight the charity.
After receiving the award, Cameron said: “It was nice to be told that I have inspired some people with my attitude towards golf and I felt really happy and surprised to have been chosen for the award.
“I think golf is the best game ever and more people should try it. You can’t always win but you can always have fun.”
Cameron had no idea he was going to receive the award when he rolled up at his golf club on Sunday.
“He is just mad on golf, completely obsessed” admitted mum Debbie.
“His illness really set him back quite a bit. He lost a lot of weight and his confidence and we’ve slowly built him back up.
“He was blue-lighted to hospital and we very nearly lost him. But he showed courage to battle through.
“The day after he was released from hospital he did want to go to the putting green but it’s been a gradual process.
“From the age of five he was hooked on golf and played in a number of ‘Wee Wonders’ events even travelling to Scotland to play in them.
“Now we’ve had to ease him back into it again.
“His dad took him to the “Growing Golf” academy at the club and soon he was going out with a few of the other lads after the session ended to enjoy nine holes.
“That helped him regain his self-belief. The social aspect to golf has been a really big factor in helping him make a recovery.”
Because of his zest for life and his selflessness in looking to help other who are have diabetes, Cameron has developed a real link to the JDRF charity.
He was invited along to a pro-celebrity golf day at Woking GC where he met former England star Trevor Brooking and ex-Eastenders actor Jonny Labey.
And he even made it to 10 Downing Street with a group of youngsters representing the JDRF charity to meet former PM Theresa May who is herself diabetic.
Mark Trow, PGA pro at Kings Hill, helped re-introduce Cameron to golf and is thrilled at the lad’s progress.
“He’s a really nice kid and a good golfer. I think he would play golf every day if he could!” said Trow.
“I’ve known him now for a year. His dad brought him along to our “Growing Golf” academy for an introductory session.
“Cameron had played quite a lot before he was diagnosed but stopped and was just getting back into it again.
“But he clearly had ability and that was soon identified. He also mixes really well with all the others and always has a smile on his face.
“Of course, he has to make sure he monitors his blood sugar levels while playing, but he does it in such a way that I’m sure most of the others don’t even realise he has diabetes.
“For me he’s a real inspirational lad – someone who shows you how much he loves the game and doesn’t let anything stand in his way.
“He also loves his crazy golf and that’s great to see – we’re all for kids enjoying themselves playing any form of golf.”
Cameron picked up his award yesterday from Izzy Lush of the Young Ambassadors programme after his family managed to keep news of the ceremony a complete secret.
“We’re all so proud of him and his sister is like his minder – she is always keeping an eye on him because of what happened,” added mum Debbie.
“It was great to share this award with all the family present.”