Players descend on South Lanarkshire for Thomas Tunnock Bonspiel

Wheelchair curling competitors from across the United Kingdom are playing it out for the top prize at the fourth annual Thomas Tunnock Bonspiel.

Nine teams from Stirling, Wales, Moray, Lockerbie and South Lanarkshire will be playing for a win at the last wheelchair curling tournament of the season, finishing with the finals on Thursday afternoon.

Now in its fourth year, the three-day event is sponsored by confectionary company Tunnock’s.
Members of the South Lanarkshire teams are hoping the round robin style tournament will secure a win for the county.

Organiser and secretary of South Lanarkshire Wheelchair Curling Club (SLWCC), David Morgan said: “This season has been good but not for winning awards, we’ve finished in the quarters and semi-finals at various events, but we’re hoping to win the Tunnock’s bonspiel this week.”
Provost Russell Clearie and Fergus Loudon the sales manager of Tunnock’s spoke at the opening of the tournament on Tuesday.

Provost Clearie said: “It’s not just about the competition it’s watching the enjoyment of players doing a sport that’s gone from strength to strength.

“This is the tournament’s fourth year running and it’s fabulous to see groups who have travelled from across the country.

“Sport throughout South Lanarkshire is very high on our agenda because it obviously brings not only the sportsman’s side and the challenges that brings but it also bonds friendships and it gives you the healthy options.”

Tunnock’s became involved in sponsoring the event four years after being made aware of the sport through former employee Bill Shanks whose son Russell is a member of the South Lanarkshire club.

Fergus Loudon said: “We are very, very proud of our connection and once again it’s great to see so many people coming along to support the sport.

“I didn’t know much about wheelchair curling before we got involved. It’s great to see such competitiveness on the ice and the camaraderie coming off.”
Ian Dunn, the chairman of South Lanarkshire Disability Sport added: “This tournament started four years ago and it has blossomed since that first year. It’s a great sport and a wonderful way to end the curling season.”

The Tunnock’s competition coincides with the tenth anniversary of the SLWCC. The club celebrated with a cake and party to mark ten years of the sport in South Lanarkshire.

The club has 35 members from as far as Edinburgh, Dumfries, Glasgow, East Dunbartonshire,

Ayrshire, South and North Lanarkshire travelling to sessions on Mondays at 12.15pm until 2.30pm.

Jim Sellers, one of the club’s founding members said: “It started out with four members attending a come and try session at East Kilbride Plaza and has just got even bigger over the years.

“People come from all over because it’s the best club for the social side of events and for the organisation of events.

“Over the last ten years I’ve since taken part in five world championships, secured three medals a gold and two bronze, I never thought I’d be an international athlete.”