Volunteer Sharon is bowled over by the efforts of carers

Sharon and Frank
Sharon and Frank

BEING visually impaired doesn’t stop Sharon Moncrieff from doing what she enjoys - including ten-pin bowling.

The 47-year-old volunteer manager at Carers Link in Milngavie started bowling when her children were six and eight years old for the simple reason that a bowling centre opened up near their home in Cumbernauld.

Sharon, her husband Frank (55), and their two children Jennifer (25) and Barry (27) became regulars and her love affair with the sport began.

Born with partial sight, Sharon sees in black and white.

She has a guide dog called Killie and is employed full time at Carers Link where she uses a computer with a large screen - she started at Carers Link when it was set up nearly eight years ago.

While she was a youth worker for the charity Visibility she took the children and young people bowling.

Sharon said: “They really enjoyed it and in 2003 British Blind Sport contacted me to ask them if I’d set up a ten pin bowling group in Glasgow for adults with visual impairment.

“I did and it’s still running and has grown from strength to strength.

“It’s now a registered charity and plays in a national ten pin bowling league for people with a visual impairment.”

Sharon started competitive bowling in 2003 and three years ago she and Frank joined a league after the manager at Pro-Bowl in Kirkintilloch suggested it to them.

She said: “We decided to give it a go and while I find it difficult to get the high scores that sighted bowlers achieve, the company and social aspects of playing in a sighted league were excellent for us. 

“We’ve also been to Las Vegas on holiday and our hotel had a 70 lane bowling centre so we could bowl from midnight until 8am for just $1 per game each. With the eight hour time difference and jet lag we were regular bowlers from around 4am until 8am!” 

The couple are now putting their love of bowling to good use by doing a sponsored bowl-a-thon to raise money for Carers Link on Saturday, June 16 at the Pro-Bowl in Kirkintilloch. They aim to bowl continuously for 12 hours - from 11am to 11pm - to promote Carers Week which begins on Monday, June 18.

Sharon added: “We both love bowling and have started practising whenever we can for the bowl-a-thon. We thought this would be a good way to have fun while raising much needed funds for Carers Link.”

Moira Carrick, resource co-ordinator at Carers Link, said: “One local person in eight provides care to a family member, and in the last year Carers Link provided direct support to nearly 800 families in the area – an increase of more than 15 per cent on the previous year. With a growing number of carers coming forward for support we need to raise an extra £10,000 this year simply to cover costs and maintain services at their current level.”

The theme of this year’s Carers Week from June 18 to 24 is ‘In sickness and in health.’

It aims to encourage carers to seek help when they need it. Carers Link staff and volunteers will be on hand to chat and answers questions at the Carers Week stand in the Pro-Bowl while Sharon and Frank are bowling.

Moira added: “It promises to be a good day, Carers Link volunteers will be bowling in the lane alongside Sharon in the evening to lend support.

“Why not go along and cheer them all on? You will be made very welcome.”

For more details or to donate to the ‘Clink, Clink for Carers Link’ fundraising campaign, phone 0800 975 2131 or go to www.carerslink.org.uk