After battling ill health, John Foster faced not being able to bowl again. However, the joy of delivering a bowl was brought back to John through the aid of a buggy and, through a grant scheme, was then able to bowl using the Bowls Royce wheelchair. John sheds light on his story, to inspire others, as he can now continue to bowl with his friends at White Hall BC in Essex.
Never the Last End
In June 2020, I became one of the thousands who caught Covid-19 and was hospitalised for 10 days at the age of 78. I also suffer with Peripheral Vascular Disease.
This ongoing medical condition combined with Long Covid prevented me playing bowls as I was unable to walk the green due to pain.
It put me down as I missed bowling with my friends at White Hall Bowling Club and fellow bowlers in the Southend Parks Bowls Circle.
My wife Carol said “Why don’t you give the Bradshaw Buggy that our Multiple Sclerosis Short Mat members use to deliver a bowl on the green.
” This I did and felt that I was back home just by being on the green. Carol then said “Stand up out of the buggy onto the mat and address the Jack. This I did with my first bowl touching The Jack. I was not so fortunate with the other three bowls. Carol then pushed me to the other end of the Rink and I played back.
Fantastic result as now I play four times a week with my friends.
Ability to Bowl
This continued until a fellow bowler who I met on a Club Bowling Jolly’s to New Romney Bowling Club phoned me. The call was from Gary Fagg the workforce at New Romney. Gary informed me that his club had a Powered Bowls Royce Wheelchair Buggy which I was welcome to loan. This changed my game as I did not have to rely on another person pushing me up and down the green.
I then went online to become a member Disability Bowls England. Receiving newsletters and offers to play and join bowlers with a disability in Team Games. I also became a member of the British Wheelchair Bowls Association.
As a Level 1 coach, I contacted Adam Durnin of Coach Bowls who I have known for many years regarding financial assistants in purchasing my own powered wheelchair.
Adam took a note of my request but was unable to offer financial assistants. I then received a newsletter from the British Wheelchair Bowls Association (BWBA) on the launch of their 50/50 grant scheme and application criteria. A BIG THANK YOU to the BWBA for your kind offer of your 50/50 grant which has permitted me to purchase my own Powered Bowls Royce Wheelchair. This aid has allowed me to play the sport that I love and to bowl both in club and County League Matches.
Win Win Result
So there is no need for you to stay lonely at home looking at the walls. Don’t have negative thoughts of using a wheelchair or other mobility aids (At the beginning I had these thoughts)
Become a member of the BWBA and DBE as well as speaking with your Bowls England affiliated club officials and get back bowling indoors or outdoors.
I am now able to share my wheelchair with others at White Hall Bowling Club.
Remember “We are Stronger Together” so now is the time to have fun on and off The Green. Enjoy!!