Former Corrie roars on wheelchair curlers

Kelso ice rink. Ronnie Browne.
Kelso ice rink. Ronnie Browne.

Barriers came crashing down at Borders Ice Rink on Saturday when some unlikely candidates got together with the collective aim of highlighting disability sport.

Scottish folk legend and accomplished artist Ronnie Browne, The Southern Reporter, Ataxia UK East of Scotland Branch and the Borders Wheelchair Curling Club joined together for a day of fun, socialising and sportsmanship and the hope of promoting the ‘Roaring Game’ to all and sundry.

Needless to say the disabled curlers had the edge on the ice but in the case of friendships formed and important links made the occasion was declared an undoubtedly successful draw.

The initial idea for the get together came from Browne, patron of the Ataxia Branch, who just happened to overhear two of the group’s members, John Hunter, from Selkirk, and John Reid from Hawick, talking about going curling.

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” said Browne.

“Here were these two guys, in wheelchairs, dealing with severely debilitating symptoms, talking about going off curling.”

Browne discovered that both Johns have been members of the Borders Wheelchair Curling Club for several years and immediately set about organising a trip for others in his branch, including himself and carers, to come down to Kelso and try it for themselves.

“The benefits are obvious in terms of both physical and emotional wellbeing,” he added.

Celebrating his 66th birthday on the day John Hunter told us: “Curling is a hugely important part of my life.

“I used to wheelchair race but am unable to do that anymore but I can still curl and enjoy both the sport and the friendship within the group.”

The visitors were welcomed to the ice rink by Border Wheelchair Club chairman, Ewan Girvan, who was in turn thanked by Ataxia UK East of Scotland Branch chairman Pete Dalby. Following the curling the East Branch treated the company to lunch.

Ataxia, meaning lack of order, affects over 10, 000 people in the UK and causes sufferers problems with movement, balance, and speech. There is currently no cure. For more information on Ataxia email info@ataxia-east-scotland.org.uk and for wheelchair curling contact Valerie Robertson on 01896 823 690.