A Champion in our midst

Sometimes we get to hear about some remarkable tenants. That was the case when Colin Playfair our Food Hub Co-ordinator got in touch to let us know about James Dick (Jim) who lives in Galashiels whom he often meets when they are out walking their dogs.

Colin explained, “At first when I met Jim, we used to chat about dogs however, one evening we ended up in opposition when my bowling club Gala Waverley played his club Ancrum in a Border league match. Now when we meet its bowling talk.”

This may not sound very special until you hear Jim is registered blind. He lost the sight in one eye through an accident at work, and only has 2-3% vision in the other eye. Yet he was recently picked to represent Scotland in the British Bowling Disabled Championship and they came out as the overall winners.

We wanted to hear more, so went along to meet him. Jim described, “I bowled from an early age, my early 20s, but I stopped after I had my accident and then didn’t play for many years. Eventually I spent almost 6 years just rolling bowls to see where they would lie and was persuaded by my friends to give playing bowls a go again. If it hadn’t been for the encouragement of my friends, I would never have done it.”

Since then, there has been no stopping Jim and he has gone on to achieve great things. He has played for Scotland and recently had a test match against England where they won 2 ½ to 1 ½. He has been an Internationalist for Scotland, a Singles and Pairs Champion, and National Champion for visually impaired bowlers. This year he will be President of his own bowling club at Ancrum.

Jim explained that visually impaired bowlers like him, rely on another person called a ‘director’ to explain the lie of each of the bowls they play as well as their opponent’s, like on the face of a clock in relation to the jack. Jim added, “It’s really exciting times as the Scottish Borders region is producing some really talented players who have a disability right now, and it takes a lot of work and dedication to stay at International level – I often have to play sighted players just to keep up.”