Swindon Bats Sports & Social Club for the Visually Impaired
Swindon Bats Sports & Social Club for the Visually Impaired

Bats on BBC Radio Wiltshire

 Becky could be heard on the Sue Davies show talking about two young men that went out of their way to help a visually impaired person.

 

Download the item by clicking this link: 

Becky on BBC Radio Wiltshire Sound
Becky on Wiltshire Sound 12 july 2024.mp[...]
MP3 audio file [4.4 MB]

Inter-company Competition 2024

Mark Flay from Zurich Community Trust writes:

 

I want to say a massive thank you on behalf of me, Sue, and the Swindon Bats to all the companies involved in this years event for coming along and making it such a success. I always marvel when Zurich employees come along to bowling with the Bats at how everyone just has a wonderful time and gets chatting and enjoys the evenings and last night was just the same experience. Thank you to all corporates for coming along with teams from 7 different organisations.

 

Big thanks to Hilliers, Intel, Midcounties Co-operative, Openwork, Swindon Bats, Swindon Town Foundation (c/o Intel) and of course Zurich. Thank you to the volunteers that organised the raffle, the supporters helping the Bats with their bowling, to Pete M who did all the scoring on the night with a fabulous spreadsheet, and of course all of the 54 attendees for making it such a fun event.

 

Regarding scoring, there were just 7 points between 1st and 3rd! Intel2 won with 1238 points, Openwork2 were a very close second, just one point behind on 1237 (!!), and Hilliers were in bronze position with 1231! Such a close outcome after around 3 hours of intense bowling!

 

Well done to our individual winners who were Steve and Elaine from the Bats, and Dean and Jo for the corporate bowlers!

 

It was an amazing night and despite running slightly over on timing, I hope everyone that attended from the different organisation had a great time.

 

The Bats aim to support anyone that has a sight impairment and wants to join them, but that isn’t easy for a charity that has an annual income of less than £6,000. The icing on the cake last night was that with the raffle and surplus money from entry fees the Bats will have raised around £700, which is a lot of money for them, so thank you to everyone involved for helping with that too.

 

Zurich teams bowl with the Bats around 4 times a year and host them for a meal and bowling twice a year, so if there is anything you can do as a corporate to support them then please do let Sue or Becky (Chair of Swindon Bats) know.

 

Dare I say it, but we hope to see you all again next year to do it all over again!

Fantastic Finals!

Written by Maisy McAdam:

 

On Wednesday 15th May, a group of Bats travelled up to Sheffield to 

compete in the delayed winter trios  and the summer pairs competition, as part of the British Blind Sport Tenpin Bowling Championships. 

 

Swindon Bats were lucky enough to have several teams make it to the finals, all excited to work toward hopefully taking home some glory!

 

The lucky teams for the trios were:

 

Bats strike it lucky: Sue, Russ, Georgia and Tracey.

 

Bats blind ambition: Maisy, Andy and Stuart.

 

The teams for the pairs were:

 

Bats blind ambition: Stuart and Andy. 

 

Bats women and Robyn: Nicki, Becky and Sue 

 

The delayed trios were much anticipated, supposed to be held the previous year, but due to the train strikes couldn’t go ahead, after a great night of socialising and a hearty breakfast at the hotel the trios teams boarded the bus and set off to the bowling alley for a day of hard work. This was like no other bowling game, it is 8 consecutive games!

 

The atmosphere was truly buzzing and all the teams got into their games, the sound of cheers, laughter and pins collapsing echoed all morning. Strikes, spares, splits and everything in-between were achieved and before we knew it it was lunch time, so we all took a well deserved break to refuel. More fun was to follow after lunch with teams all round doing well, that evening the bus came and for some it was the end of the playing, and a restful day ahead was planned, but for others it had only just begun!

 

The following day was the pairs which was just as exciting! A number of Bats had a second full day of bowling ahead. The atmosphere was great, many on their second day of play starting to notice the tiredness creeping up on them. But that wasn't going to stop any of the competitors from giving it their all! There were plenty more cheers, lots of laughter, and equally much relief at the end of the day with anticipation hanging in the air for the results to come.

 

That evening with barely a moments rest all the teams got in their best dress to attend the awards dinner, with so many achievements over the past two days, not least Andy’s incredible 200 pin game, it was inevitable that awards would be coming The Bats way, everyone was pleased however, with just how many awards were given to all of the hard working bowlers’.

 

For the trios 2023 competition:

 

Bats strike it lucky came 10th overall.

 

Bats blind ambition came 7th overall.

 

Top of division B was Bats blind ambition, coming away with a trophy for each player. 

 

Summer pairs:

 

Bats blind ambition 4th place overall.

 

Bats women and Robyn 11th place overall.

 

All the teams did exceptionally well to even get to the stage of the competition they did and should be incredibly proud. 

 

Next up were the individual awards, where yet again, Bats came away with so much recognition.  

 

The most improved female award went to our very own Georgia!

 

The pairs highest handicap score went to Blind ambition.

 

The highest individual handicap male for the pairs went to Andy.

 

Highest scratch game in the pairs went to Blind ambition.

 

The highest male scratch in the pairs game went to Andy. 

 

Truly an incredible result and a testament to the hard work, teamwork and friendship within the Bats.  

 

See our Gallery for more photos.

 

Cadbury Chocolate Heaven!

February 12th 2024 saw 18 Bats members and their families/carers visit the iconic Cadbury World in Birmingham.  

 

We travelled by coach with Barnes to make sure the day ran smoothly and everyone could enjoy the journey there. 

 

Once we arrived we were able to get special access wrist bands which meant we could get into the venue with staff support and via a special entrance. These kinds of inclusive, disabled friendly passes are incredibly helpful especially when your travelling with such a large group of VIPs! 

 

Once inside, Cadbury World did not disappoint. We were all given a selection of chocolate bars on entering the museum and factory to enjoy when we got home, and for some who couldn't wait that long a nibble on the way round!

 

The museum explained lots of fascinating facts about how to make chocolate, where chocolate comes from and how it came to be that Cadbury became one of the worlds most popular chocolate makers. 

 

There was even a ride around a chocolate world with little singing cocoa beans. There was also a 4DX Cinema showing the audience just how much actual shaking those cocoa beans need during the making process of their delicious Cadbury bars, definitely not one for the faint hearted!

 

The factory section showed us exactly how chocolate is made and allowed us to try some delicious fresh, melted chocolate and write our names with it on marble slabs. 

 

The cafe also supplied some surprises, including chocolate flavoured pizza on the menu!

 

All in all it was a great day out with lots of fun and laughter and of course lots of chocolate from the gift shop, I wonder if anyones got any left? 

 

Making a Meal of it!

 

 

On Monday the 19th of February 2024, 24 Bats members went to The Ridge Bar & Grill Restaurant for a special Thank You meal.

 

For those who might not already know, the Tenpin Bowling Alley where the Bats Bowling group meets and plays twice a week on Wednesdays and Thursdays was refurbished last year. During this time Tenpin were unable to store our bowling balls and accessible bowling equipment.

 

We were left wondering what to do and whether or not we would be able to continue to meet and play whilst the building work took place if we couldn’t store our equipment. In the end the refurbishment process lasted a considerable amount of time, almost a year in fact!

 

But to our surprise and great relief, The Ridge Bar & Grill came to our rescue and stepped in to help. The owners and staff were extremely kind and allowed us to store our bowling balls and equipment in their store rooms at the back of the building.

 

This meant us trundling through their premises a couple of times a week taking the balls backwards and forwards. It was an enormous help having the balls kept so close to Tenpin and allowed us to continue to play. We would have been absolutely lost without them offering the space to us, and all for free! 

 

As a charity helping those with visual impairments get involved in sport and leisure activities, being supported by The Ridge really made us all feel part of the wider community and meant our bowling group could continue to play our all important British Blind Sport League matches. We really appreciated such an important act of kindness. 

 

At the meal we were able to present the fantastic staff with a framed certificate and give them a very well deserved round of applause.

 

Click this link to go to the Ridge website: The Ridge Bar & Grill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hooray for Hilliers! 

 

Becky Harrison writes:

 

Just before Christmas Swindon Bats received a incredible message from Becky Hillier letting us know that the company were going to be making a substantial donation to The Bats. We were so taken aback by the generosity and kindness of the donation we definitely couldn't let this go by without meeting Becky and her team to allow us all to say a proper thank you in person.

 

On Monday 22nd of January 2024; 18 Bowlers, 8 Spotters and 2 Scorers from Swindon Bats met with 19 members of the Hilliers Funeral Service. Needless to say there were so many of us we practically took over Tenpin with no fewer than 9 lanes needed! And the evening certainly didn't disappoint, both games were really close and very exciting!

 

Swindon Bats were crowned the winners on the night itself with 5 wins out of 9 going to the Bats on both games, just pipping Hilliers to the post.

 

But most importantly it was a real pleasure getting to know the Hilliers team. There was much laughter and fun when the specialist eyewear came out and Guide dogs Tyler and Robyn certainly enjoyed all the fusses from our new found friends.

 

Hilliers Funeral Service do an incredibly difficult but rewarding job giving people peace and dignity in death and supporting countless grieving families in Swindon. We think they do a wonderful job and it was an honour and a privilege to play against them all.

 

We hope that everyone at Hilliers Funeral Services enjoyed their time Bowling with the Bats and hope to stay in touch and bowl again together soon.

 

Thank you for the fantastic donation and for taking the time out of your busy and important roles to give back and support Swindon's Blind and Visually Impaired community.

 

Hip hip hooray for Hilliers! 

 

Click here to see more pictures in our Gallery

Absent Friends Competition 2024

 

January always sees us start our Bats Absent Friends tournament, where we compete against one another in a year long battle to see who can get to the top of the leader board by the end of the year. We do this for fun and a bit of healthy competition but also to honour those members of the Bats who are sadly no longer with us.

 

So as a special tribute I would like to remind us all of some very important names. Those who are gone but never forgotten, who maybe absent but will always be forever friends and forever part of The Bats.

 

Cyril Hogan

Simon Bowen

Brian Hook

Derek Smith

David Bindon

Tom Ferguson

 

This competition is played in memory of all those who were regular bowlers but have now sadly passed away.  The winner for 2023 was Andy Cooper!

 

The competition for 2024 has started - Click here for latest details

 

Zurich Festive Challenge

 

On 18 December 2023, a group of our members enjoyed an evening’s indoor kurling with our Zurich Community Trust friends.  We played one round of kurling, which Bats won, before tucking into sandwiches, and other nibbles plus drinks, provided by the ZCT team. 

 

After refreshments were devoured, we continued with another round of kurling.  As the ZCT team won this second round, there was a deciding play off.  The final score was ZCT 2 Bats 1. 

 

Well done to all concerned and thanks for the refreshments and selection boxes.

 

A very merry Christmas to all our friends at the Zurich Community Trust, see you all again in 2024.

 

Click here to see more pictures in our Gallery

BBC Bats!

 

Leading local BBC TV news programme 'Points West' recently included an item about Swindon Bats! 

 

To view it click here: Bats on TV

Please Nominate Swindon Bats!

 

Kay kindly found this opportunity for The Bats to be nominated for £1000.

 

If you have a spare 5 minutes, please share this link on your social media, WhatsApp, emails with your friends and family. If I could encourage you all to click on it yourselves and nominate us that would be incredible!

 

The more nominations the better chance we have of winning.

 

Click here to go to the Movement for Good Swindon Bats page

 

Full Link:

 

https://movementforgood.com/index.php?cn=1140531&ct=disability&i=1700300667-67394.jpg&utm_source=holiday%20card&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=M4G2023card&utm_id=M4G2023card&fbclid=IwAR1hjvDeHW9HVu1uXJb6O4dyVG6XumkWyZpGIA-z2cN-xyerltveny-wfxg#nominateACharity

 

Thank you! 

 

 

Bowling Is Believing!

 

On 13 November, our friends from Zurich Community Trust played another bowling match with us.  We all arrived, as usual, at around 6.45 pm and were ready to bowl by 7. 

 

Throughout the evening, there was lots of banter amongst both teams, strikes and spares were scored and a good time was had by all. 

 

Unfortunately, for the Zurich team, Swindon Bats won yet again with the score this time being 6.5 to 1.5 to the Zurich team.  The teams were:

 

ZCT:        Ruby, Alice, Leah, Revathi, Natasha, Harry, Hassam, and Olivia

Bats:      Georgia, Pat, Shaun, Russ, Patricia, Stuart, Sue, and Glynn

 

Well done to everyone and thank you to Mark Flay and his volunteers for their support.

 

 

Click here to see more pictures in our Gallery

Becky and Uan Salt Path Challenge Completed!

 

We did it!

 

Myself and Uan managed to complete our very own Salt Path Challenge.

 

We originally set ourselves a goal of 40 miles along the coastal path from Weston Super-Mare to Minehead during the last week of August.

 

Here’s a brief run down of our 4 days walking the Salt Path in Somerset which we took on in the hope of raising some funds for The Bats, to say thank you for all the fantastic work they do for the blind and visually impaired people of Swindon and surrounding areas.

 

 

Day 1: Weston Super-Mare to Burnham on Sea.

Distance covered: 10.5 Miles

Time: 3 hours 30 minutes.

 

We walked about 7 miles of this stretch along golden, sandy beaches, and with the sun in the sky you could of been forgiven for thinking we were 100s of miles away abroad, somewhere more tropical, it really was beautiful.

 

I noticed so many lovely sounds around me on the first day. It really woke up my senses. The sound of the sea, waves coming inland, the seabirds and children flying kites, playing in the sand and the feeling of the sun on our faces made it such an enjoyable days walking.

 

Day 2: Burnham on Sea to Bridgwater.

Distance Walked: 11 miles.

Time: 3 hours 30 minutes.

 

We cut a big chunk of time and distance off this walk by doing a lot of road walking. It was a shame not to walk along the coast more but it would of added an extra 15 miles to our walk and with our packs weighing in at over 16 pounds each we thought the short cut was worth it, especially with 2 more days to go until we reached our final destination.

 

But it did mean we could arrive in Bridgwater nice and early and rest our weary feet. We stayed over in a local pub which was also very welcome!

 

Day 3: Bridgwater to Kilve.

Distance Walked: 15.9 miles.

Time: 5 hours 34 minutes.

 

This was an incredible day. The walk was beautifully scenic. It was a real mixture of cross country, costal and country lanes. We had one hairy moment when we happened upon a very big field of bullocks! There was an electric fence all the way around and as we hopped over the gate and I put my cane to the ground the other side we found out why it was needed. They decided to immediately run at us and let’s just say Uan’s never seen my bottom move so quickly back over a fence!

Once we had thwarted the bullocks we wandered through some lovely Somerset villages towards Lilstock and Kilves fantastic Jurassic Beaches.

 

The Jurassic cliff tops certainly didn’t disappoint. It was a brilliant place to hear, smell and experience the coast with it a welcome sea breeze.

 

We really felt like true hobbits on day 3 walking to such a wonderful spot.

 

Day 4: Kilve to Minehead.

Distance: 16 Miles.

Time: 5 hours 55 minutes.

 

What an incredible adventure we have had!

 

This was our final day walking from Kilve, a small coastal village with a long pebbly beach on the Jurassic coastline in Somerset to the famous tourist town and home of Butlins, Minehead.

This day saw us walking over cliffs and under waterfalls, over sandy beaches and rocky beaches, cross country through woods and across fields.

 

The elevation on this walk saw us climbing higher than Pen Y Fan!! Over 800 meters!

 

Our total distance covered from Weston Super-Mare to Minehead was 54 miles exactly with a total walking time of 18 hours.

 

Minehead bought much relief to our feet and the delights of an ice cream at the seaside.

 

Thank you:

 

We are incredibly pleased and relieved that we were able to manage our walk. It is is the furthest we have ever travelled on foot.

 

We navigated over some extremely difficult terrain which was made even more of a challenge due to my sight loss and the difficulty this brings with my mobility and accessibility. But with Uan’s unwavering support and constant encouragement from our friends at the Bats we managed to keep going and finish our challenge.

 

We met some lovely, kind people along the way and would like to say a huge thank you to all who have supported and followed us on our journey.

 

We want to thank every single person who’s made a donation and say there’s still time to make a donation, no matter how big or small it will all be very gratefully received by The Bats and used to continue their fantastic work. 

 

Thank you for making a real difference to those the Blind and Visually Impaired community.

 

All the best,

 

Becky and Uan Harrison

 

Please visit our CrowdFunder page for more details and the opportunity to donate!

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/becky-and-uan-salt-path-challenge

 

Click here to see more pictures in our Gallery

British Blind Sport Tenpin

Winter Pairs Fixures Announced

 

The Divisions and fixtures for the BBS Tenpin Winter Pairs competition have been announced!

 

For full details click here.

 

Superheroes Tri 2023

 

This event took place on 12 August 2023 at Dorney Lake, near Windsor.  Unfortunately, we were unable to get a team together to take part in the triathlon, but we were invited by the Zurich Community Trust to demonstrate our bowling skills. 

 

We left Swindon at 7.30 am sharing a coach with Zurich volunteers and triathlon enthusiasts from the Open Door Centre.  The coach arrived at Dorney Lake at around 9 am when those from the Open Door Centre who were taking part in the triathlon went to register for the event. 

 

In the meantime, a portable skittles alley was provided for us and was ready for action.  Anyone attending this event was encouraged to have a go at bowling whilst wearing simulation glasses.  The weather was changeable but everyone enjoyed the experience. 

 

See more pictures in our gallery.

 

Becky and Uan Salt Path Challenge

Hello!

We are a husband and wife from Swindon, Wiltshire.

We are taking on a Walking Challenge to help raise money for the Swindon Bats.

Becky was unexpectedly registered Blind in August 2021, due to a rare degenerative eye condition that she did not know she had. 

This has meant a lot of adjusting and a new way of life for us. It has changed our way of thinking about what's really important, and has given us time to take stock and start to appreciate life to its fullest. 

One of the things we now appreciate more are the people and activities that bring us joy and purpose. 

Becky is always looking for experiences to make her world feel less isolating and small since she lost her sight. 

That's where the Swindon Bats have been an absolute lifeline! 

In the short time since joining the Bats in November 2022 Becky has been able to join British Blind Sports Ten Pin Bowling League, had a visit to Harry Potter World, was able to try her hand at Acoustic Riffle Shooting and Kurling, has visited a local Primary school to talk about Para Sports and regularly takes part in a weekly Pub Quiz with her fellow team mates.

The Bats have become like family and It's given Becky confidence, courage and a community. 

Therefore we've decided that we would like to try and give back to this wonderful Group. Bats is a charity that can only run and function if it can secure regular donations and funding from the public. This money goes towards purchasing each Bat team member a Bowling Ball and T- Shirt, towards subsidising trips, days out and events and allows the Club to run its various weekly activities.

We recently listened to the wonderful AudioBook The Salt Path by Raynor Winn (2019) together. It's a wonderful story that really struck a cord with us both.

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The book is an Autobiographical story of a married couple called Ray and Moth, who after an unexpected life changing diagnosis for Moth, start to lose everything they've lived and worked for their entire lives including becoming devastatingly, homeless. With no choices left open to them they begin a walking journey which over its huge length of over 600 miles along the Costal Path transforms into a narrative of inner courage and a beautiful heartfelt story about their relationship and nature’s ability to truly heal.

In the book the couple walk the South West Costal Path from Somerset through to Dorset. 

We don't think we have the ability to walk the full 630 miles ourselves! So have instead decided to Walk 40 Miles of the Costal Path from Weston Super mare to Minehead, Somerset in order to hopefully raise some funds along the way for Swindon Bats! We'll be walking at the End of August for 3 days. 

We would be so greatful for any support you can give no matter how big or small, we know how difficult it can be at the moment for people to find and spare any extra money. 

Best Wishes,

Uan and Becky  

 

Please visit our CrowdFunder page for more details and the opportunity to donate!

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/becky-and-uan-salt-path-challenge

 

Para Sports Event

Lawn Primary School 15th May 2023

Four Bats members accompanied by three Zurich employees, were invited to put on a Para Sports Event at Lawn Primary School, on Monday 15th of May. 

 

The Bats are always keen to support and encourage inclusivity and raise awareness of sight loss in our local community. 

 

So when we were contacted by Year 1 Teacher, Mrs Greenaway, we jumped at the chance to put on a fun day of accessible sports for the School's year 6 pupils.

 

Russ, Becky, Jane and Bron were met at the school by members of the fantastic Zurich Community Trust Team; Mark, Suzie and Daniel who are always willing to go that extra mile to help the Bats and support so many wonderful community projects.

 

Once in the school building we were lead by Mrs Greeanway to the main hall where the smell quickly took us all right back to the nostalgia of school dinners, custard and jam rolly polys! 

 

Here we got to work setting up our Para Sports stations using our own equipment and some improvisations with the school's benches and crash mats.

 

We created three seperate stations. One for the children to take part in Skittles, another set up for indoor Kurling and a final station for running races along a guide rope. All with a catch: the children would be doing each sport either blindfolded or wearing specialist glasses that mimic various eye conditions, letting each child experience what it might feel like to take part in different sports with sight loss. 

 

Once all set up Mr Staffell the PE Lead bought the children into the hall. The children had no idea that we were coming to visit and there was definitely some excited whispers and chatter in the air! 

 

Russ introduced himself and asked the children what they understood about the term "Para Sports". All the children were brilliant, and very clued up on what disability and Para Sports are, with many having seen the Para-Olympics on the television. 

 

Then Russ asked the children, 

 

"What disability do you all think I have?" 

 

We heard answers coming from all directions; Dyslexia, OCD, ADHD.  

 

When finally Russ said I'll give you a clue. Becky and Russ bought their canes from behind their backs and clicked them down onto the floor..... 

 

It was a brilliant moment you could hear a pin drop. Then all of a sudden mouths open wide, eyes even wider and gasps all around. The children were so shocked to discover that we were in fact Blind and Visually Impaired! 

 

There were lots of great questions and some really positive conversations were had about disability not always being visible. 

 

We met 60 children in total who all got to take it in turns on the various sports stations. The Guide Rope Running Races and Kurling activities proved particularly popular. Each child triumphantly collecting a sticker at the end of the afternoon.

 

Many of the children remarked how strange and scary it felt not to be able to see whilst doing the sports and said it made things much more difficult. 

 

All the year 6 pupils from Lawn Primary were very mature and respectful young people who were a pleasure to meet. We really hope that they all had a good afternoon getting to grips with Para Sports for the Visually Impaired. 

 

We do have a sneaking suspicion they might of enjoyed it just a little bit as at the end a hand flew up excitedly and one boy bravely shouted out.....

 

"Mr Staffell can we do this again next week for PE, and the week after that?"

 

A big thank you to Lawn Primary School for inviting us and to The Zurich Community Trust team for helping us put on a fun and educational afternoon where we were able to work together to successfully spread awareness of visual impairment and promote accessible sport. 

 

See more pictures in our gallery.

Shooting for the Stars

Kay Kay writes:  Seven VI shooters with sighted guides had a shot at firing air rifles at ETR Active target range, Cricklade, on Saturday  April 22nd.

 

Paul Sharpe, range owner, set up a fantastic free day of training and shooting.  When we saw the "BATS" sign on the highway directing us to the premises we knew we were in for a VI(P) kind of day!

 

First came a welcoming coffee, then the sighted guides were taken to the range to learn about range safety, how to load and unload the weapons, and how to zero them (this means test firing then adjusting the sight so that a pellet fired at the red dot hits the bullseye).

 

After all ten of the sighted people had successfully hit their targets they were then pronounced "fit to coach" and paired up with a VI shooter.

 

Those waiting their turn could be heard happily munching biscuits ( or was that just the three dogs, Milly, Willow, and Wren? Ha ha ) and chatting away over their coffee.

 

Paul is still working on  his bespoke acoustic system so on this occasion the coaches adopted a "Bernie the bolt" style verbal instruction to guide their shooter's aim onto the bullseye. "Left a bit, right a bit, fire!" was the refrain of the day with everyone not only managing to hit their targets with ease but get great groupings and a few bullseyes too! 

 

VI shooters and sighted coaches rotated onto the firing lanes, having lots of goes each, interspersed with a lovely pizza lunch all provided by Paul - his family and friends were perfect hosts and really looked after us. 

 

Stars of the day were sighted coach Michelle who got the first bullseye, and hotshots Sue and Shaun who once again took overall top marksman places for the girls and boys respectively, each getting bullseyes and fantastic groupings.

 

A cracking day was had by all and everyone agreed they'd do it again "like a shot"... 

 

See more pictures in our gallery.

Harry Potter Studio Tour Trip

Becky Harrison writes:  On April 14th a group made up of 6 members of the Swindon Bats Sports & Social Club for Visually Impaired People were joined by 6 members of their family and friends, to emark on a magical trip to The Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studios in London.

 

The London Harry Potter Studio Tour invites you into the actual studios where they made all the Harry Potter films. There you'll find that they’ve refashioned all our favourite props, costumes and sets into a fantastic exhibition. It’s a Harry Potter experience like no other!

 

Our Tour was booked in advance through our local Coach Operator Barnes Coaches, who were brilliant at arranging and catering to all our group's needs.  They provided a comfortable and safe journey to our magical destination. Our driver Dave was a great source of entertainment and was very attentive and inclusive to all, kindly helping us locate our stops, audio describing our seating areas and guiding us all on and off the coach himself. Thanks for all your help Dave (Or should we say Hagrid Dave!).

 

It was almost as if we'd taken a trip on the Night bus itself! Within a blink of an eye we had arrived at those enchanted Hogwarts doors.

 

The Harry Potter Studios offer a Staff guided walking tour around the studios especially for the Visually Impaired. On arrival we were kindly given free digital headset guides for those of us who wished to swat up on additional audio information. We were then introduced to our two guides for the day, Nathan and Torlin. We have to say that when Nathan (who lead our tour) told us that it was his first time taking a group around, we could'nt actually believe him, because he was so fantastic! Both Nathan and Torlin were remarkable at their jobs in guiding us through what was an extremely busy area.

 

They were able to immerse us in the Harry Potter universe and give us a chance to experience a behind-the-scenes walking tour which featured authentic sets, costumes and props used in all of the films.

 

We got the chance to explore for ourselves some of the original sets, such as getting to step onto the real Hogwarts Express, taking a look into Number 4 Privit Drive and pulling up our own Mandrakes in Professor Sprouts Greenhouse! Our Guides also imparted some closely guarded film making secrets, including facts about the special effects and animatronics that made the films so hugely popular all over the world.

 

There were lots of interactive moments to the Studio Tour including the Bats being invited to experience levitating our own broomsticks, touching Hagrid's original Monster book of Monsters and creating lightning and wind effects in the forbidden forest.

 

Despite it being incredibly busy and with a huge area to cover Nathan and Torlin couldn't do enough for our group and supported us for 6 whole hours to navigate the experience making sure no Gringot's Gold Bar was left un turned! We were treated like Hogwarts royalty and fast tracked through countless ques to ensure our experience was a magical one!

 

All the Bats and our family and friends agreed that this trip was an incredible experience and a truly enchanting adventure.

 

In the words of the great Albus Dumbledore:

 

"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities"

 

Thanks to all the help and care of all our supporters on this trip all The Bats members who attended were able to have a fantastic and memorable experience that we will truly treasure! 

 

See more pictures in our gallery.

'Bowling is Believing' on 23.03.2023

 

Mark Flay writes:

On 23rd March a group of 8 employees from Swindon took up the gauntlet to go bowling with members of the Swindon Bats who are a sports and social club.

The Bats aim is to provide regular activities for visually impaired people aged 18 plus. One of their main activities is tenpin bowling, which they love!

The Zurich Team took on the challenge and wore specially designed glasses to replicate various sight impairments for some of the frames. It really does bring home just how amazing the Bats are in the way they get on with their day to day lives.

Thanks so much to everyone that took part last night as the Bats really do appreciate it and it all helps them to win trophies at the national events their members attend. ?On the night it was a draw with the teams tied on 4 points each!

 

If you'd like to get involved at future events, then comment here or email me: mark.flay1@uk.zurich.com

 

See more pictures in our gallery.

Inter-Company 'Bowling is Believing' on 09.02.2023!

 

Mark Flay writes:  On February 9th a group of 15 employees from the Swindon office of Zurich Insurance UK took up the gauntlet to go bowling with 13 members of the Swindon Bats Sports & Social Club for Visually Impaired People. 

 

We were joined by 8 employees from Openwork, to ensure a bumper night of bowling over 6 lanes who were competing for the Inter-Company trophy!

 

The Bats aim is to provide regular activities for visually impaired people aged 18 plus.  One of their main activities is tenpin bowling, which they love!

 

The Zurich and Openwork Teams took on the challenge and wore specially designed glasses to replicate various sight impairments for some of the frames.  It really does bring home just how amazing the Bats are in the way they get on with their day to day lives.

 

Thanks so much to everyone that took part last night as the Bats really do appreciate it and it all helps them to win trophies at various national championship events throughout the year.

 

One of the volunteers commented:

 

"It was fantastic and thanks so much for arranging these evenings! Well done BATS!  We will be back for another challenge!!"

 

On the night it was a win for the Swindon Bats 'All Stars' team who beat one of the teams from Zurich into 2nd place!

 

Zurich Community Trust

 

#community  #volunteering  #bowlingisbelieving  #LoveZCT

 

All of the bats thank Mark for organising another great event.

 

See more pictures in our gallery.

An Evening with Swindon Coeliacs

 

On 26 January 2023, we enjoyed an evening’s bowling with a group from the Swindon Coeliac Group. 

 

We all arrived at Tenpin Swindon at 6.45 pm with much excitement and enthusiasm  for the evening. 

 

Two games of tenpin bowling were played and there was lots of banter and cheers of joy when strikes and spares were scored.  The Coeliacs were encouraged to wear simulation glasses during frames 4, 5, 6 and 7 to give them some idea of what it is like to live with various eye conditions. 

 

After the first game the score was 3 to Swindon Bats and 1 to Swindon Coeliacs.  At the end of game 2, the score was 3 to Swindon Bats and 1 to Swindon Coeliacs so the final score was 6 to Swindon Bats and 2 to Swindon Coeliacs. 

 

The teams were:

 

Swindon Coeliacs – Marian, Sue, Ken, Lou, Gareth, Pete, Cliff, and Maria.

 

Swindon Bats – Georgia, Glynn, Stuart, Maisy, Becky, Russ, Shaun, and Andy.

 

The highest scorers were:

 

Shaun (Swindon Bats) 195

 

Gareth (Swindon Coeliacs) 115

 

Thank you to Swindon Coeliacs for presenting the highest scorers with a £20 Marks & Spencer gift card each.  Thank you also for a very enjoyable evening – here’s to next time, 29 June 2023.

 

See more pictures in our gallery.

A Fair Challenge

 

A team from Zurich Community Trust, led by Stacey, was tasked with organising a winter bowling challenge which took place on 23 January 2023.  The challenge involved organising us to enjoy a meal at The Ridge, Swindon, followed by a tenpin bowling match. 

 

We all met at The Ridge at 5.30 pm and enjoyed burgers and fries among the company of Stacey’s Zurich team.  Food and conversation were all good.

 

After the meal, at approximately, 7 pm, the bowling began at Tenpin Swindon.  Five lanes had been booked with 2 bowlers for Zurich and 2 for Swindon Bats on each lane. 

 

Strikes and spares were scored especially when sighted players wore simulation glasses which gave them some idea of what different eye conditions were like. 

 

At the end of the first game, the score was 3 to Zurich and 2 to Bats. 

 

After glasses were refilled, the second game began.  Lots more strikes and spares were scored.  The score for the second game was 3 to Bats and 2 to Zurich making the final score 5 to Zurich and 5 to Swindon Bats. 

 

The teams were:

 

Zurich – Jane, Tracey, Peter, Brynley, Sue, Stacey, Maria, Juliet, Caroline, and Ines.

 

Swindon Bats – Maisy, Becky, Andy, Glynn, Georgia, Peter, Stuart, Cliff, Shaun, and Russ.

 

Thank you to Stacey and her team for organising this event – everyone had a great time.

 

See more pictures in our gallery.

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Updated: 14th July 2024

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