It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear friend Brian Hook who died after a long illness on 8 June 2020.
Brian was an enthusiastic genealogist and, for many years, was involved in organising trips to London for other genealogy enthusiasts. He took part in Swindon Bats events such as skittles along with his wife Ann who is one of our visually impaired members.
Brian was a real gentleman who enjoyed helping us whenever asked to do so. He liked to have a laugh and a joke with us all whenever he dropped Ann off at the Monday Club.
Until a few years ago, when he had to give up driving due to illness, Brian was a regular visitor of the Monday Club.
RIP Brian – we will miss you.
Coronavirus (Covid 19)
As of today, 17th March, all Swindon Bats activities are cancelled until further notice
due to the Coronavirus situation.
Stay safe everyone.
On 6 March, a few of our members met at Craven House to play an indoor kurling match with the local Blind Veterans group. We met at 10.30 am and we were all full of enthusiasm for the game.
Several rounds were played with some players scoring higher than others. Tea and cakes were enjoyed and were supplied by Blind Veterans – thank you very much, they were very much appreciated.
Three members of Blind Veterans won the trophies this time - better luck to Swindon Bats next time.
One of our founder members, Derek Smith, sadly passed away on 31 January having been in hospital for 6 weeks. Derek had a fall while out and about one day and landed in some bushes. Scratches on his arm caused his hand to swell which necessitated his stay in hospital. We were all very shocked at the news of his passing.
On 20 February, 16 of our members attended Derek’s funeral at the North Wiltshire Crematorium near Royal Wootton Bassett. This was a celebration of his life and of his love for his family and friends. It ended with the song ‘Always Look On The Bright Side of Life’ which sums up Derek’s character.
Derek was always ready to pull your leg or share a joke with anyone who came into contact with him. For a few Christmases, he was our cuddly Santa, handing out presents from a sack at our Christmas parties.
He enjoyed tenpin bowling on a regular basis until it became necessary for him to give it up for health reasons. He was a keen player in the National Blind Tenpin Bowling Winter Trios and Summer Doubles competitions for many years.
RIP Derek, we’re missing you already.
Note: £306 was raised at Derek’s funeral in lieu of flowers and has been donated to Swindon Bats. Thank you to the Smith family for their kind donation.
Another match was played against our friends at the Great Western Hotel on 27 January 2020. As usual, we met at around 6.45 pm giving time for players to change their shoes and select their balls ready to start play at 7 pm.
There were 5 teams of 2 players from Bats and 2 from the Great Western Hotel and each team played 2 games. Game 1 commenced and lots of strikes and spares were scored. At the end of game 1 the score was 3 games to Swindon Bats and 2 to the Great Western Hotel.
After a short break so that glasses could be refilled, game 2 began. Again, there were many strikes and spares scored. Game 2 also ended with 3 games to Bats and 2 to the Great Western Hotel making the final score 6 games to Swindon Bats and 4 to the Great Western Hotel.
The teams were:
Great Western Hotel: Nigel, Corey, Gavin M, Gavin G, Richard, Pete, Jana, Vikki, Dorota and Alex.
Swindon Bats: Sue, Diana, Glynn, Pete, Georgie, Stuart, Andrea, Tracey, Shaun and Cliff.
Thank you to Gavin and his staff at the Great Western Hotel for their continued support.
The third Tony Martin Memorial event took place on 28 November at Tenpin Swindon and was organised by the Zurich Community Trust. This event takes place in memory of our dear friend ZCT’s Tony Martin who passed away in September 2017. There were 8 teams in total consisting of members of Swindon Bats, Zurich Community Trust, Capita and Open Works.
On arrival, at around 6.30 pm, Kerry from ZCT took orders for half time drinks and food. Everyone changed their shoes and waited with their balls at the ready with the first game beginning at around 7 pm. There was a lot of banter and cheers of excitement as spares and strikes were scored by all teams.
There was a short break while drinks and burgers were served before game 2 began. Again there was lots of fun and games while more strikes and spares were scored.
The winning team was Capita All Stars. Shaun managed to score the highest for Swindon Bats and Craig for one of the corporate teams.
The teams were:
Zurich 1: Pam, Franki, Annie, Jane, Diana and Sue.
Zurich 2: Carla, Kerry, Sarah, Glynn, Georgie and Stuart.
Open Works 1: Debbie, Alex, Lewis, Lisa, Darren and Andrea.
Open Works 2: Lorna, Shaun, Cheryl, Callum, James and Jeff.
Capita Elite: Luke, Daryl, Nathan, Paige, Lee and Nicky.
Capita All Stars: Mark, Vicki, Helen, Sharon G., Sharon K. and Shaun.
Zurich 3: Vicki, Tony, Craig, Neil, Becky and Pat.
Zurich 4: Rory, Nick, Sam, Harrison, Marc and Charlotte.
Thank you to the Zurich Community Trust for organising and taking part in this event. Here’s to next year’s Tony Martin Memorial Challenge.
The Summer Doubles competition has ended with the national finals being held in Wigan on 9 November. One of our teams, Bats Angels, (Tracey, Georgia and Nicky) managed to beat off all competition in their group to make it through to the finals. Unfortunately, Nicky was unable to participate on 9 November but Tracey and Georgia did their best on the day.
The girls, plus pin spotter Stuart, travelled by train to Wigan on 8 November and were welcomed at the Mercure Hotel in Wigan by members of the National Blind Tenpin Bowling Association.
During the evening, they enjoyed a meal at a local pub and then retired to bed to rest ready for action the following day.
Saturday began with breakfast after which they waited in the lobby of the hotel to board a coach which was to take them to the bowling alley. Seven games of tenpin bowling were played throughout the day before getting the coach back to the hotel.
After some much needed rest, dinner was served at 7 pm followed by the presentation of trophies. Our girls came 12th out of 14 teams and were all given small trophies for their efforts.
Thank you to Stuart who went as their pin spotter.
Well done Bats Angels for qualifying and for doing so well.
On Monday, 13 October, we had a kurling match with Blind Veterans Who came along to challenge us. Unfortunately, due to the awful weather, not many Blind Veterans members turned up so we decided to play amongst ourselves.
All through the afternoon the contest progressed with us all playing in couples against each other. The winner with the highest score played the winner of the other couple until we had a final
with the two highest scores .
The male with the highest score was Richard with Cyril a close runner up, highest of the ladies was Pat with Midge and Diana a joint second all receiving a trophy. Vince from Blind Veterans also received a trophy.
During the afternoon we were kept supplied with teas and light refreshments supplied by the very generous Blind Veterans.
Thanks to Colin and Aileen for supplying the equipment and all the food and drink.
A good time was had by all.
Earlier this year, an application was made to the Zurich Community Trust for a tenpin bowling challenge. Our application was accepted and the event took place at Tenpin Swindon on 3rd October.
The team from Zurich Corporate Risk entertained us with pizza at Pizza Hut prior to the match and the bowling got started at around 7.30 pm. Some of us were so full of pizza that we weren’t sure if we could bowl well for our teams! However, we gave it our best shot.
Game 1 began with players on both sides scoring strikes and spares. The Zurich players were asked to wear simulation glasses for frames 4, 5, 6 and 7 to give them an idea of different eye conditions. I have never understood how sighted players always seem to play better when wearing these glasses!
There was a short break and after game 1 Swindon Bats were in the lead, 3 games to 2. Game 2 began and again lots of strikes and spares were scored and there was a lot of banter too. Cheers and shouts all round.
The second game ended with Zurich winning by 3 games to 2 so the final score was a draw, Swindon Bats 5 and Zurich Corporate Risk 5.
Well done to everyone who took part and thank you to Zurich Corporate Risk for organising and paying for this event.
The staff of the Great Western Hotel recently challenged Swindon Bats to a return match at Tenpin Swindon.
On 16 September, we all met up at Tenpin Swindon at around 6.30/6.45 pm giving time for players to be booked in and organise shoes and balls. Play began at around 7 pm.
Two games were played with lots of strikes and spares being scored and there was much banter on both sides. After the first game, Swindon Bats were leading by 3 games to 2.
There was then a short break to refill glasses before game 2 began. Again, there were many strikes and spares scored and a lot of teasing when Sue managed to bowl her ball down the wrong lane!
In both games, during frames 4, 5, 6 and 7, the sighted players wore simulation glasses of various eye conditions and still managed to score strikes and spares.
A good time was had by all who took part and another date has been fixed for the new year.
The final score was 6 to Swindon Bats and 4 to the Great Western Hotel. The highest scorers were Glynn for Swindon Bats and Gavin M. for the Great Western Hotel.
'The Game of Throwings'
The National Blind Tenpin Bowling Association’s Winter Trios competition 2019-2020 begins on
14 September 2019 and this year we have 3 teams taking part.
Every year we have a fundraising stall at the Shrivenham Fete which, this year, was held on Saturday, 24 August.
The day began with Robin, Diana, Richard, and Pete putting together the gazebo, and setting up the tombola bottles and other goodies, as well as the skittles competition. A 'Heath Robinson' ball return system was assembled with plastic cladding, shelf supports and lots of zip ties. It worked well, saving many miles of walking back and forth with the skittles balls.
The bottle stall was so popular that, by around 3 pm, all the prizes on the tombola had been won. People were still playing skittles for a while after this; the top score on the day was just 9, achieved by two players. Fortunately we had two prizes to give away!
The money has now been counted and it seems we managed to raise a fantastic £201.50.
A successful day.
Several members and their families enjoyed a visit to Bournemouth on 17 August. We all met at the bus station at around 9 am to meet the coach which had been booked to take us there.
When we arrived in Bournemouth at around 11.15 am, some members went straight to get a cup of tea/coffee from one of the nearby coffee shops whilst others went to the beach or for a walk along the prom. One of our members decided to get a bus and visit her sister who lived nearby.
A free music festival was in progress with individual buskers and full groups entertaining the crowds.
The sun shone and after a lot of walking, eating and drinking had been done, we all met back at the coach at 7 pm for the journey home. A fun time was had by all including the three guide dogs who also came along.
Swindon Bats challenged The Financial Practice (Malvern) Ltd and Digby Associates to a tenpin bowling match which took place on 27 June. Players arrived at around 6.30 when they changed into bowling shoes and chose their balls.
The first game began with much anticipation on both sides. There were strikes and spares scored and for frames 4, 5, 6 and 7 simulation glasses were worn by the sighted players. The score after game 1 was 3 to The Financial Practice / Digby Associates and 2 to Swindon Bats.
There followed a short break when players refilled their glasses before game 2 began. Again, many strikes and spares were scored on both sides. The final score was The Financial Practice 3 and Swindon Bats 7.
The highest scorer for Digby Associates / The Financial Practice was Matt with 190 and Shaun was highest for Swindon Bats scoring 174.
The teams were:
The Financial Practice (Malvern) Ltd and Digby Associates:
Helen, Ellie, Bob, Steph, Joe, Digby, Paul, Matt, Hannah, and Patty.
Georgia, Stuart, Glynn, Sue, Pat, Nigel, Tracey, Charlotte, Cliff, and Shaun.
Everyone had a fun evening and we’re looking forward to doing it all again sometime in the future.
Indoor Kurling with Wootton Bassett Rotary Club
On 24 June we enjoyed a fun evening with the Wootton Bassett Rotary Club when we played a few rounds of indoor kurling. We arrived at St Bartholomew’s Church Hall at 7 pm ready to start playing at 7.30. Members of Swindon Bats and the Rotary Club had a few practice sessions with the indoor kurling kit while others sat around chatting. Then a match between the two sides began.
After a few rounds, there was a break when all players enjoyed a bangers and mash supper. After supper more indoor kurling was played and the final score was 65 to Swindon Bats and 62 to the Wootton Bassett Rotary Club. Well done to all who took part.
Thank you to Wootton Bassett Rotary Club for organising this event and for cooking and serving the meal. Let’s have a return match some time.
We have a Winner!
The 2019-20 competition has started: Click here for the Rules and Current League Table
Great Western Hotel Challenge
On 8 April 2019 we challenged the staff of the Great Western Hotel to a bowling match. Members of Swindon Bats and staff of the Great Western Hotel arrived ready for action at around 6.30 pm. After changing shoes and buying drinks, the first game began.
As usual on these occasions, there was lots of banter on both sides and several strikes and spares were scored. During frames 4, 5, 6 and 7, the staff of the Great Western Hotel were encouraged to wear simulation glasses to give them an idea of what it is like to have a visual impairment. The first game was won by Swindon Bats, 3 games to 1.
After a short break, game 2 began with much excitement. More strikes and spares were scored – why is it that, when the simulation glasses are worn, players seem to score better than those of us who have visual impairments?!
Game 2 was also won by Swindon Bats, 3 games to 1 making the over all score 6 games to Swindon Bats and 2 to Great Western Hotel.
The teams were:
Great Western Hotel: Nigel, Gavin M., Richard, Megan, Gavin G., Jana, Laura, and Danny.
Swindon Bats: Tracey, Glynn, Diana, Sue, Shaun, Derek, Georgia, and Stuart.
Shaun was the highest scorer for Swindon Bats and Nigel for Great Western Hotel. Well done everyone – we’re all looking forward to another challenge later in the year.
A New Activity for Swindon Bats
During the last six months or so, some of our members have had the chance to have a go at indoor kurling (see below for a match report). This has led to the purchase of our own indoor kurling kit with a view to playing the game on several dates throughout the year. This will take place at our Monday Club which meets every other Monday from 2 to 4 pm. The dates for indoor kurling are:
13 May 2019
15 July 2019
30 September 2019
25 November 2019
If you are visually impaired (or know of someone who suffers from sight loss) and would like to have a go, please get in touch.
Indoor Kurling with Blind Veterans
There was more success for Swindon Bats in their first Kurling competition (and yes...it IS spelt like that!).
On Friday, 5 April, we were invited to take part in an indoor Kurling competition with members of Blind Veterans.
We met at 10.30 am and introductions were made and tea, coffee, cake and biscuits were consumed.
It was decided that the competition would be men against women and the first game was played between Diana and Sue of Swindon Bats. Once all the games were played, the scores were added up and winners announced.
Runners up: Vincent from Blind Veterans and Diana from Swindon Bats.
Winners: Cyril and Sue from Swindon Bats.
Here’s hoping for a re-match later in the year.
Summer Doubles 2019
The National Blind Tenpin Bowling Association’s Summer Doubles 2019 competition begins on 30 March.
Tenpin Swindon Charity Night
Tenpin Swindon held a charity night to raise money for Swindon Bats on 11 March from 7 to 9 pm. They kindly donated a percentage of their takings for those two hours to our charity. They also allowed us to run a raffle and donated 6 free games to a lucky winner. Their support enabled us to raise £88.20.
Thank you Tenpin for your continued support of Swindon Bats.
6th Swindon Cubs
As part of working towards their Disability Awareness Badge, the 6th Swindon Cubs joined Swindon Bats on 5 March to play one game of tenpin bowling.
We met at 6 pm and made sure there was at least one member of Swindon Bats on each lane with four Cubs and a Cub Leader. For frames 4, 5, 6 and 7, the Cubs wore our simulation glasses so that they would get some kind of appreciation of what different eye conditions are like.
A good time was had by all and, hopefully, the Cubs learned something about what living with sight loss might be like.
Wootton Bassett Rotary Club
We recently challenged the Wootton Bassett Rotary Club to another tenpin bowling match which took place on 11 February.
Members of both teams began to arrive at Tenpin Swindon at around 6.30 in anticipation of play commencing at 7 pm. As usual, members of the Rotary Club were encouraged to wear simulation glasses for frames 4, 5, 6 and 7 of each game to give them experience of the different eye conditions.
There were many excited cheers as strikes and spares were scored on both sides and at the end of game 1 the score was 3 to Swindon Bats and 2 to Wootton Bassett Rotary Club.
After the first match there was a short break for glasses to be refilled and then it was on to game 2. Again there were strikes and spares scored on both sides and the final score was 7 games to Swindon Bats and 3 to Wootton Bassett Rotary Club.
The teams were:
Thank you to all members of the Wootton Bassett Rotary Club for their continued support.
FURTHER USEFUL LINKS
Many thanks to Jennifer McGregor of Public Health Library for a set of links for our website.
After the success of last year’s event, another Tony Martin Bowling Challenge was organised by the Zurich Community Trust for Thursday, 29 November. As usual we all gathered at Tenpin Swindon at 6.30 pm to take part in this event.
There were six teams of five players which consisted of a mixture of Swindon Bats, Zurich and Capita members. Two games were played with a short interval between games so that players could replenish their glasses.
Sighted players were asked to wear simulation glasses for frames 4, 5, 6 and 7, and one or two decided to play blindfolded. There was a lot of excitement when strikes and spares were scored, and everyone had a good time.
Meet the teams:
Capita: Mark, Jordan and Chloe (Capita), Georgia and Stuart (Swindon Bats).
Capita/ZCT: Julie, Pete and Rachel (Capita/ZCT), Diana and Sue (Swindon Bats).
Zurich 1: David, Ross, and Connor (Zurich), Tracey and Andrea (Swindon Bats).
Zurich 2: Richard, Jameson, Tony and Rory (Zurich), Glynn (Swindon Bats).
Zurich 3: Diane, Lucie, Sam, and Rob (Zurich), Shaun (Swindon Bats).
Zurich 4: Emma, Ruth, Vicki, and Pam (Zurich), Pat (Swindon Bats).
And the winners were!!
Capita won the trophy for winning the tournament.
Shaun won the trophy for the highest scoring member of Swindon Bats.
Jordan won the trophy for the highest scoring corporate member.
Thank you to Shannon and Pam for organising the event – here’s to doing it all again next year.
Bats Strikers Achieve 2nd Place in National Summer Doubles Finals!
Bats Strikers came second in the National Finals - click here to read the full report
On 10 October 7 of our members took part in a sponsored bowlathon to raise money for Swindon Bats. The preparation for this event has been going on for some time with players recruiting sponsors from their friends and families, all wishing to raise as much money as they can.
The day arrived and all participants turned up at Tenpin Swindon, Shaw Ridge Leisure Park, Whitehill Way, Swindon, SN5 7DN, at 12 noon and were excited to get started. Play began at around 12.30 pm.
Players were asked to play as many games as they felt able to so 3 played 10 games, 2 played 8, 1 7, and 1 4. Play finished at about 5 pm with the remaining bowlers feeling very tired but exhilarated by what they had achieved.
The total pinfall from all 7 bowlers was 6434 and an estimated total of £700 has been raised.
Thank you to Tenpin Swindon for their support of this event – it is very much appreciated.
Great Western Hotel Staff v Swindon Bats
The staff of the Great Western Hotel took on Swindon Bats at tenpin bowling on 8 October at Tenpin Swindon. It was arranged that everyone would arrive at between 6.30 and 6.45 pm so that shoes could be changed and balls selected ready to begin playing at 7 pm.
Everyone arrived and were excited to begin the match. The first game began at around 7 pm and the staff of the Great Western Hotel were asked to wear simulation glasses for frames 4, 5, 6, and 7 which they agreed to do. Some of the staff members tried bowling wearing a blindfold and managed to score better. How does that happen?!
We had a short break after game 1 for glasses to be refilled and facilities to be used. At this stage the score was Swindon Bats 4, Great Western Hotel 0.
Game 2 began with lots of banter as strikes and spares were scored. Again the Great Western Hotel staff wore simulation glasses during frames 4, 5, 6 and 7. The final score was Swindon Bats 8, Great Western Hotel 0. Shaun managed to be the highest scorer for the Bats and Mark scored highest for the Great Western Hotel.
Everyone had a good time and we hope to have a re-match some time in the new year. These were the teams:
Great Westen Hotel – Gavin M, Gavin G, Mark, Vikki, Jana, Dorota, Mgan and James.
Swindon Bats – Diana, Sue, Tracey, Charlotte, Glynn, Shaun, Georgia and Pat.
Wow, What a Match!
It was with great anticipation that, on 20 September 2018, a team from Swindon Bats met with a team from the Zurich Community Trust to play tenpin bowling. We arrived between 6.30 and 6.45 pm ready to change shoes, get drinks and select balls for the match.
The fun began at around 7 pm with game one of two being played. There was lots of excitement as strikes and spares were bowled. During frames 4, 5, 6 and 7 the Zurich team were required to wear simulation glasses so that they were able to get a feel for what bowling with various eye conditions is like.
After a short interval to refill glasses, game 2 began with more excitement and plenty of banter. More strikes and spares were bowled and the final score was Swindon Bats 6, Zurich Community Trust 2. Trophies were presented to the highest scorer of each team – Andrew for Zurich Community Trust who scored 132, and Shaun for Swindon Bats who scored 176. Congratulations to both.
Thank you to Ollie and his team for organising this very successful event – a very good time was had by all.
On Wednesday, 29 August 2018, members attended the funeral of one of our dearest friends and volunteer, David Bindon, who sadly passed away on 2 August having been ill for some time.
David was a Pin Spotter for our bowlers for several years and was always fun to have around. He joked about the fact that he often lost when bowling against visually impaired people.
David was happy to help with anything and designed and built two guide rails for the use of our bowlers. These guide rails help totally blind bowlers to line up accurately before taking their shot.
David will be sadly missed by all who knew him – rest in peace David, we’ll never forget you.
We have registered with AmazonSmile - a system through which Amazon donates to charities at no cost to the shopper.
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Remember to select Swindon Bats Sports & Social Club as your charity to support!
Summer is coming and the NBTBA Doubles competition will soon be starting with our first match being played on 25 April.
It's getting so crowded here that we have had to start an archive page.
Re-live highlights from our history!
The Monday Club meets once a fortnight for chat, a cuppa and fun and games. Dates for 2018 can be found on our activities page.
Free membership to the Registered Blind or Visually Impaired.
Sighted Volunteers Needed!
At present the club only has two sighted volunteers to help as Pin Spotters when we play tenpin bowling. Pin Spotters tell us what pins we have knocked down and which ones remain standing. They also help with finding balls and putting them away again. They may also be required to guide someone who does not see well enough to find their way around. If you are available for a few hours on Wednesday afternoons and would like to help and make new friends, please contact us.
Swindon Bats are just like you, The only difference is what we view, We’re men & women with different levels of sight, Anything from an impairment to dark as night, We often meet for coffee go on outings and trips, Learn about new technology and share useful tips, We have a wide range of ages from 18 to mature, Using guide dog’s white canes to sticks and more, But the best thing of all is we Tenpin Bowl every week, In a national blind league True as we speak, We’ve been National Champions more than once come 2nd and 3rd too, We often win medals, and cups well we’ve won a few, We bowl against local companies like Zurich and Nationwide, Capita Lloyds Bank and others besides, It’s all for fun to show how life still goes on, Despite our disability when God’s mould went wrong, So if life sometimes seems tough unfair and unkind, Pick up a Bowling Ball as it works for the Blind.
The Blind Poet
Last Updated: 20th June 2020