Polo club, auxiliary help hospital with annual Cup

Christmas Tree Farm’s Kathy Fowser Whitman heads to the ball during Sunday’s Chester County Hospital Polo Cup. Not including Sunday’s effort, the Polo Cup has raised $133,000 for Chester County Hospital through its ticket sales, silent auctions, raffles and donations.

NEW GARDEN — Sport and charity crossed paths Sunday at Brandywine Polo Club, where the hosts joined the Turks Head Auxiliary for the Chester County Hospital Polo Cup.

On the field of play, Livin’ Division fought off a late rally by Christmas Tree Farm to notch a 13-10 victory.

“Our team plays an awful lot together, and I thought that showed today,” said Livin’ Division team member and Brandywine Polo Club President Scott Brown. “The other team had two professional players, but they just couldn’t get it going.

“We put up 23 goals, and that’s a pretty good score for polo. We were pleased with the how the field and horses played, and it was just a great event.”

It was the sixth edition of the annual affair, which has evolved with each passing year.

“The Turks Head Auxiliary has done a great job with the Polo Cup,” Brown said. “They get better at it each time.”

Turks Head Auxiliary President Heather Pastino agreed the group has improved with each subsequent event.

“We have a wonderful group of women who work diligently all year long,” Pastino said. “We’re fine-tuning every year and learning what our customers, sponsors and guests want and need.”

Not including Sunday’s effort, the Polo Cup has raised $133,000 for Chester County Hospital through its ticket sales, silent auctions, raffles and donations.

“Our numbers have been growing every year,” Pastino said. “We’re very proud of the event and so pleased with the turnout and the wonderful sponsors who help us raise money for such a great cause.

“The hospital is one of the few that isn’t owned by a big corporation, and it is pretty much funded by what the community gives back to it. We’re just one spoke in the wheel.”

While the Turks Head Auxiliary has grown since its inception in 2005, so has Brandywine Polo Club. In the last three years, it has gone from 18 members to 50, partially due to the success of the Polo Cup.

“It brings so many people out to polo who wouldn’t normally come,” Brown said. “It’s amazing how many people come to us and say, ‘We had no idea there was a polo club in Chester County.’ We’re probably the best-kept secret in the county, and to have hundreds of people come out for this, it’s great exposure and good for the sport.”

Because of the costs involved in polo, the club is involved in an extensive effort to defray some of the financial burden for interested players, especially young ones.

“With the horses, trucks and trailers you have to have, it can be prohibitive for people to get involved in,” Brown said. “So what we did seven years ago was start the Brandywine Polo Academy. We have 28 horses and six instructors, and every year we bring new people through. Making it more accessible is very important for us, and we teach people from 12 years old to 65.”

While building a bigger base is a major focus moving forward, so is the continued fundraising for Chester County Hospital.

“It is a great facility, and I think it’s very special that we’re making an investment to improve it for all of the people in the community,” Brown said. “We’re happy to do it, and it’s great to team up with the Turks Head Auxiliary to make it happen.”

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