Three bowlers from MS Swale (the independent local charity, offering support to anyone in Swale with Multiple Sclerosis and those affected by someone with MS) have formed a team and entered the South East Region leg of the Disability Bowls England Inter-Club Triples competition which was held at Ashford Indoor Bowls Centre on Saturday (7th March).
Around 2½ years ago, MS Swale realised that their members would benefit mentally and physically from exercise and decided to set up a Para-bowls club, run weekly at Swale Indoor Bowls Club in Milton Regis. It soon became obvious that the members were enjoying the sessions and with the help of grants from Swale Council and local councillors, combined with fund raising efforts, they purchased 5 specialised wheelchairs, plus steps for an outdoor rink to enhance everyone's enjoyment. The numbers participating have increased and members really enjoy the sessions, usually staying for lunch at the Bowls Club afterwards. Many members were so keen that they also played outside during the summer season at the Appleyard Bowls Club. Playing ability has greatly improved so that they have now formed a team to play in one of the many leagues run by Swale Indoor Bowl Club, competing on an equal basis with able bodied players.
When they heard about the Disability Bowls England Triples competition to be held in Ashford, they welcomed the chance to take up the challenge. 8 teams, each consisting 3 players with a disability from the same bowls club, will take part in the competition. The teams will be divided into 2 groups, playing a minimum of 3 games each.
Steve Harbour, David Webb and Janice Hancock made up the MS Swale team, with Tony Hancock as Reserve. Many of their fellow members, family and friends planning to cheer them on at the event. Steve Harbour said "Playing bowls has really made a difference to my life. The Para-bowls sessions have enabled me to play sport again, benefitting me both physically and mentally. The regular sessions have given me the confidence to take part, with the rest of the team, in the Swale Indoor Bowls Club leagues and I am looking forward to the challenge of the Disability Bowls England Competition".
MS Swale invites anyone who has a neurological disability to come and join us at bowls. The sessions take place each Friday from 12.00 midday at Swale indoor Bowls Club, Vicarage Road, Milton Regis ME10 2BL.