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Bowlers welcomed for Macular Degeneration Awareness week

ALL WELCOME: Woolgoolga C.ex Bowling Club invites people with a vision impairment to attend bowls coaching sessions.
ALL WELCOME: Woolgoolga C.ex Bowling Club invites people with a vision impairment to attend bowls coaching sessions. Emily Burley

THE Woolgoolga C.ex Bowling Club will offer lawn bowls and carpet bowls coaching sessions to people with a vision impairment as part of Macular Degeneration Week.

Publicity officer Alan Morris said the club was particularly sympathetic to the macular disease cause as it affected a number of the club's members.

"Four people in the club, me being one of them, just feel that there are some people in Woolgoolga who have got macular degeneration and feel they can't participate in various things," Mr Morris said.

"We're opening our doors and letting people know that there are people with macular degeneration still playing bowls and playing really well and enjoying it."

Lorraine Bawden has been bowling since the 1980s and has continued with the sport since the onset of her macular degeneration three years ago.

Although still bowling twice weekly, Ms Bawden has made the switch from outdoor bowls to indoors bowls, which is played over a smaller distance.

"I had difficulty with outdoor bowls because of the distance, as my sight got worse and worse I realised I couldn't see the kitty," Ms Bawden said.

"I had to get the skipper to put their foot near the kitty so I was bowling to their foot.

"At that point I gave up outdoor bowls because I thought I was being a nuisance."

The club's top bowlers, some of whom will help out at the coaching sessions, are more than happy to give advice.

"Everyone's been very friendly and patient," Ms Bawden said.

"They don't just put you in there and say 'That's it', they give you a lot of information and help you.

"I did see one of the coaches use a clock technique and say 'bowl to five o'clock', so they have different ways to help people who can't see so well.

"It is a handicap that can be overcome quite easily."

Ms Bawden is still adjusting to playing indoor bowls but said continuing with sport is important to her.

"Playing and staying social is very important," she said.

"Sometimes you feel like you can't be bothered but then you think 'oh, no, it's bowling day' and you really make the effort."

Mr Morris agreed.

"The best thing we can do is to open our doors and let people with macular degeneration know that they're welcome and that the social aspect of the club can really broaden their life," he said.

Interested?

The bowls coaching sessions will be provided by experienced bowlers, some of whom have macular degeneration, and will cover both outdoor lawn bowls and indoor carpet bowls.

The free sessions will be held on Monday, May 25, and Thursday, May 28, from 1.30-4.30pm.

For more information and to register for the coaching sessions, phone Woolgoolga C.ex Bowling Club on 6654 1307.

Topics:  macular degeneration woolgoolga



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