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Monday, April 16, 2012

Paisley pupils get sports therapy

by Jeff Holmes, Paisley Daily Express

EXCITED schoolkids welcomed a top sportswoman to their school – and even Elvis Presley popped in to hear her speak.

Aileen Neilson, a champion wheelchair curler, was at Bushes Primary, in Paisley, to talk to kids about her sport – and she left a lasting impression.

More than 100 pupils heard Aileen chat about her training, conditioning and what it takes to become a champion competitor.

And Elvis impersonator Ben Doyle dropped by to hear Aileen’s talk and also chat to kids about the king of rock.
A spokeswoman for Bushes Primary told the Paisley Daily Express: “It was a fantastic visit and you could have heard a pin drop when Aileen was speaking.

“She had them hanging on her every word.

“Aileen brought along a slide presentation to illustrate her talk. It taught our pupils all about curling and then the kids were allowed to take part in a special indoor game of the growing sport.

“It was fantastic because the curling stones had special wheels on them to help them roll along the wooden gym floor.

“It was very inspiring to hear Aileen talk about her career to date – and what she hopes to achieve in the future.”

Through hard work and dedication, Aileen gained selection to the Great Britain team for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games.

It was during these Games that she became the first female to skip a curling team in either the Paralympics or World Championships.

Aileen, from Strathaven, Lanarkshire, first watched curling at Braehead Arena, in Renfrew, back in 2004 and joined their wheelchair curling club soon after.

She was present at the World Championships which took place at Braehead the following year and was inspired by what she saw.

Aileen said: “The Scottish team that year was fantastic – I was smitten.

“I watched them retain their gold medal and decided there and then that I would far rather be taking part than sitting watching.”

Aileen was true to her word and quickly developed into one of the best players in Scotland.
She was selected for the 2007 Scottish side that competed in the World Championships in Sweden and gained a well-deserved bronze medal.

And she has continued that meteoric rise to the top ever since – with pupils at Bushes Primary the latest to benefit from Aileen’s incredible passion for curling.

She said: “The kids were fantastic and seemed genuinely interested in what was going on.
“Who knows, we could have been sitting in the presence of some stars of the future.”

Bushes Primary was All Shook Up when Elvis impersonator Ben Doyle popped in too.

The spokeswoman for the school added: “It was a big thrill to have ‘Elvis’ at the school.

“Ben has been impersonating Mr Presley for some years now and the pupils just loved his act.

“He is one of our lollipop men and the kids never tire of seeing his brilliant impersonations.”

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