Disabled league winner is bowled over

Presentation of awards and trophies to members of the bowling club at Sunderland Tenpin bowling alley.
Presentation of awards and trophies to members of the bowling club at Sunderland Tenpin bowling alley.
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DISABLED bowlers are striking out with their own league.

The weekly meetings at Tenpin Bowling alley in Sunderland have seen the group transform from amateurs to king – and queen – pins.

Tuesday afternoon bowling club, League champion, Stuart Worthy with his winning trophy.

Tuesday afternoon bowling club, League champion, Stuart Worthy with his winning trophy.

Weeks of practice drew to a close with a presentation of trophies at the bowling alley in Sunniside Leisure, High Street West.

All of the bowlers were given medals and the top three players were also handed trophies by Salvation Army worker Graham Wharton.

Champion bowler was Stuart Worthy, 40, from Red House, who overcame mobility and hearing problems to win the league.

Volunteer Peter Lovegrove, 42, from Plains Farm, helped set up the group for disabled and vulnerable adults, along with Tenpin worker June Simmons, from Silksworth.

It now has about 50 members, aged 30 to 70, who meet on Tuesday afternoons.

Peter, a full-time care worker, said: “They have lots of fun. It’s unbelievable, the smile on their faces when they get a strike.

“It’s one of those sports when it does not matter whether you’re disabled, as you can just do it.”

After finding himself out of work, Peter did six months of volunteering with the Salvation Army.

He enjoyed it so much that he kept it up after his placement finished in May.

Peter’s own story has a happy ending, after he landed a full-time job at a care centre in Nookside.

However, his good work will continue, as his new bosses agreed he can still spend Tuesday afternoons at the bowling alley.

Members at last week’s presentation were full of praise for the league’s organisers.

Natalie Clark, support worker for Tina Ayre, 41, said: “Tina thoroughly enjoys the bowling league.

“She loves the interaction with all the service users and staff.

“A great job all round for Tenpin for all the help in organising this.”

Patrick Mallon, 30, from Ryhope, said: “I enjoy coming to bowling every Tuesday to meet all my friends and different people.

“All the staff at bowling are very friendly and helpful.”

Twitter: @janethejourno