20 Dec VIPs bowled over by success
Two bowling teams from local sight loss charity Southend in Sight made it to the National Blind Tenpin Bowling Association Finals held in Wigan in November. The men’s team were placed a respectable 8th place but the ladies team had a fantastic competiton and lifted the first place.
48 teams of visually impaired bowlers competed during the group stages of the national competition. 14 teams reached the finals. Both Southend in Sight teams were pleased with their performance and were also justly proud of what they had achieved, in getting to the finals but also in making the journey from Southend to Wigan on public transport.
Anne Morris, Clare McLewin, Wendy Williams are the ladies team and Russell Cable, Kevin Weaver and Gary England made up the men’s team. Clare McLewin was awarded the Salisbury shield for the best average pin score. In nine years, no-one from the Southend in Sight bowling teams has ever won this. Congratulations Clare.
The Kursaal Flyers, as the bowlers are known, have had much success over the years since beginning to compete in 2009. In May 2017, two teams made it through to the Finals, coming 4th and 11th. In 2014, the first team lifted the trophy and in 2013, the Flyers placed 3rd and 5th.
The closure of the Kursaal Bowling Alley in Southend earlier this year necessitated a move to CJs bowling lanes in Hockley. The teams have had to make the adjustment to new lanes and different lighting as well as the additional travel. They have not let this set them back and winning in Wigan was testament to their determination. The dedicated support of staff and volunteers played its part too in the team’s success.
Lucy Martin, CEO of Southend in Sight said ‘Our bowlers are fantastic and show what you can achieve with commitment and perseverance. We are all very proud of their success and look forward to more in the future.’
30 visually impaired bowlers from Southend in Sight, including one wheelchair user, practice on a Thursday afternoon. Southend in Sight volunteers guide the players up to the line and advise them on the pins left to be knocked down. Each partially sighted bowler has a handicap and plays to their own ability.
More volunteers are desperately needed to help – no bowling experience is needed and full guiding training will be given. If you are free to help the best bowling team in the country on a Thursday afternoon and interested in volunteering, please call 01702 34 21 31.
For further local support and information about services and assistance including training for local businesses, please call Southend in Sight on 01702 342131 or go to www.southendinsight.org.uk.