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

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.

Absent Friends Competition 2023


This competition is played in memory of all those who were regular bowlers but have now sadly passed away.  The first games were played on 04 January, and the competition will continue until 30 November 2023.


For full details, and the latest league table click here

Bats Sharp Shooters!



On 2 December 2022, a group of us visited the Barbury Shooting Range for a taster session of acoustic rifle shooting.  This involves special equipment which enables visually impaired people to take part in rifle shooting by wearing headphones to hear a sound which indicates where the target is.  As the tone increases in pitch, the closer the rifle is aimed at the bullseye. 


We arrived at 11 am and enjoyed tea and coffee while the equipment was set up for us. 


Charlie, who coordinated with Bats member Kay to organise this event, gave us a brief talk about the equipment and gun safety.  There were two rifles set up so a pair of us could have a go at the same time.  Only one of our group managed to hit a bullseye but some of us were very close. 


It is hoped that another taster session will be organised so that those who were unable to come along this time, can have a go on an alternative date.  It is also hoped that an acoustic rifle shooting club can be set up in Swindon and that some of our members will play in a national league. 


Thank you to Charlie, Liz, Jason and Paul, who travelled from Lincoln and Birmingham to visit us with their equipment, for organising this event.


Thank you also to Kay, who coordinated with Charlie to make this event possible.


See more pictures in our gallery.

Open Door Centre

On 3 November a team from the Open Door Centre joined us at Tenpin Swindon to enjoy some tenpin bowling.  Once balls were chosen, and drinks and food were purchased, the bowling began at 7 pm.


During the first game, there was lots of excitement as strikes and spares were scored for both teams.  At the end of this game, the score was a draw at 2 games each.


There then came a short break when glasses were refilled, before we started again for the second game.  Again, lots of strikes and spares were scored on both sides.  The Open Door Centre team were happy to try bowling using our simulation glasses for part of the games.


At the end of the second game the score was 6 games to Swindon Bats and 2 to the Open Door Centre.  I am sure everyone had a good time.


The teams were:


Open Door Centre: Andrew, David, Nathan, Thomas, Mark, Natalie, Matthew, and Angie.


Swindon Bats:        Peter, Sue, Shaun, Pat, Glynn, Maisy, Russ, and Andy.


Perhaps we will do it all again next year – here’s hoping!



Another match with our friends at the Zurich Community Trust was played on 29 September. 


All bowlers and helpers met at the usual time of 6.45 pm and play began at 7. 


There were lots of strikes and spares scored for both teams with much banter between players.  At the end of game 1 the score was 2.5 to ZCT and 1.5 to Swindon Bats.


After a short break, play began again.  Again, many strikes and spares were scored and at the end of the second game the score was 6.5 to ZCT and 1.5 to Swindon Bats. 


In both games, during frames 4, 5, 6 and 7, ZCT's players were encouraged to wear glasses which simulate various eye conditions.  A couple of them even wore a blindfold to see what it is like for someone who sees nothing at all. 


Congratulations to Mark Flay and his team!  The teams were:


Swindon Bats – Pat, Georgia, Stuart, Tom, Peter, Russ, Andy, and Sue.


ZCT – Caroline, Nicky, Suzanne, Elizabeth, John, Rebecca, James, and Mark.


See more pictures in our gallery.

Super Heroes Series


Zurich Community Trust invited members of Swindon Bats to demonstrate their bowling skills at the Super Heroes Series event in Dorney Lake, near Windsor, on 20 August. 


ZCT organised a bus to take Andy, Russ, Pete and Sue to this event along with members of the Open Door Centre, Swindon, and volunteers from ZCT. 


Members of the Open Door Centre were taking part in sporting activities and, as one of them had to register for his race by 9.15 am, we had an early start with the bus leaving Swindon by 7.40 am. 


We arrived just in time for registration and found that a portable skittles alley had been hired and constructed for the event. 


The idea was for us to show anyone interested how visually impaired people bowl.  Sighted visitors had to wear the simulation glasses or a blindfold so that they had some idea of how it is for us. 


Many people visited us including children and wheelchair users who all enjoyed giving it a go. 


The highlight of the day was meeting Clare Balding who was there to film the event, highlights of which will be shown on Channel 4 at 8.30 am on 4 September and will be available on All 4 afterwards. Clare was filmed wearing simulation glasses and having a go at knocking skittles down. 


We arrived back in Swindon at around 6.45 pm feeling tired but happy to have had a successful and enjoyable day.


Thank you to Mark Flay for inviting us to volunteer at this event.  For more information about Super Heroes Series visit Superheroes Series.


See more pictures in our gallery.




Last Updated: 17th March 2023

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