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A group of Sight Scotland Veterans have made a commemorative bench to say thank you to the Hawkhead Bowling Club.

The commemorative bench was gifted to representatives from the bowling club during a presentation at Sight Scotland Veterans’ Hawkhead Centre on Tuesday 21 March 2023.

The veterans at the Hawkhead Centre have enjoyed bowling since the centre opened in 2017, and pre-covid they would visit the Bowling Club regularly and were always made to feel very welcome. This April will be the first time the veterans have been able to return to the club since restrictions have been lifted.

As a thank you, a group of veterans decided to make the bowling club a commemorative bench while taking part in their woodwork sessions.

One of the veterans, Tommy Carruthers, who has Vascular disease due to type 1 diabetes, explains: “We absolutely love going up to the bowling club, and before covid we were up there any chance we could. We have always been made so welcome and cannot wait to go back in April.

“When we go to the club, we always bring a pack lunch and eat outside sitting on one of the benches. This is where the idea first came from to create a commemorative bench for the club. We wanted to do something to say thank you for all the hospitality they have given us over the years. It will be great to think when the bowling season starts again, that we can all go back up and actually sit on the bench we have made.”

Tommy, who was a Lance Corporal in the army, has been attending the Hawkhead Centre since it opened. Tommy loves the woodwork classes. It allows him to keep doing a passion he thought he would never be able to do again when he lost his eyesight. Tommy has made lots of things, including planters, wheel barrows and even a wishing well, and also helped to make the Memorial statue in the Hawkhead Centre garden and the trophy cabinet in the hallway. Tommy was helped to make the bench by fellow Army veterans Peter Ramsay and Jim Stevenson.

Alison Gray, Deputy Centre Manager at the Hawkhead Centre, comments: “We are always looking for opportunities to be involved within our local community. The veterans love their visits to Hawkhead Bowling Club and this was a brilliant way of showing their gratitude to the club who we have such a wonderful relationship with. The bowling visits are always very popular, and it is great to see the camaraderie and friendships which have blossomed between our veterans as a result. We really can’t thank the bowling club enough for their continued support over the past few years and we hope to be able to enjoy many more visits to the club in the future.”

Executive Chair of Hawkhead Bowling Club, Moira Bryan, comments: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Sight Scotland Veterans’ Hawkhead Centre and are looking forward to welcoming the veterans again when the bowling season starts in April. Our bowling club prides itself on its inclusivity and in the future we may consider introducing a special membership category for people with a visual impairment.

“We cannot thank the veterans enough for donating the commemorative bench to the club, and we hope as many of them as possible will come down to the club, enjoy a game of bowls and have a seat on the bench at the side of the green.”

The Hawkhead Centre, which opened in 2017, is an activity hub for veterans with sight loss to re-engage in the local community, rebuild confidence and regain or maintain their independence. With a variety of activities and outings, the activity hub offers the means and support to adapt to life with sight loss and try new things.  Many veterans who attend the activity hub say that the things they do there and the connections they’ve made have transformed their lives.

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Written by: PaisleyRadio

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