The Erskine Commonwealth Games held in all five Erskine care homes last year not only left a lasting legacy of wonderful memories but has resulted in the veterans’ charity making the final of the National Lottery Awards 2015.
The project beat off stiff competition from 620 organisations to reach the public voting stage of this year’s Awards – the annual search for the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects.
Erskine is competing against six other organisations in the sports category.
Events that took place during the two week Erskine Commonwealth Games included an opening day torch relay race, opening, closing and medal ceremonies, food, music, crafts and entertainment from throughout the commonwealth and sporting competitions including boccia bowls, shot putt, weightlifting, netball and that much renowned sport of balloon tennis.
Erskine resident, 98 year old John Bowman, remembers the games as though it were yesterday and such is his enthusiasm for competing, he encourages all he meets to VOTE FOR ERSKINE!
A keen cyclist and member of Lomond Road Cycling Club in Clydebank in his younger years, John won a bronze medal in cycling at The Erskine Commonwealth Games last July. His only frustration being it wasn’t gold with John recalling with great precision there were only 9 seconds between the medal winners.
He later came to terms with coming third when it was pointed out that he was just a little older than the other finalists!
The Erskine Home has been home for John since December 2013 when complications following an infected sore on his foot meant he could no longer live alone. Having been active all his life, army veteran John felt the challenges of old age and ill health keenly, having to give up his lifelong love of cycling instead relying on a walking frame to get around.
But John need not have worried as the Physiotherapy team at Erskine who assessed his fitness were keen to give him the chance to get back to the sport he loved.
“The first time I sat on an exercise bike at Erskine and put my feet on the pedals it all came back to me and I was in my element!” said John. “The Games were great fun and I thoroughly enjoyed taking part especially in the cycling as I have always enjoyed the sport. I used to think nothing of cycling 120 miles at a weekend. I was always curious to see what was round the next corner.”
John was keen to take part in The Erskine Commonwealth Games as soon as he heard about it from Erskine’s Head Physiotherapist Janet Leith.
Prior to the Games, John increased the amount of time he spent training on the exercise bikes which paid dividends. Since the Games, John has continued to cycle three or four times a week. He also attends the physio exercise group twice a week.
Janet Leith said: “John is one of Erskine’s most willing residents! He is always keen to attend exercise groups and we knew that he would love the chance to take part in the Erskine Games. He was very committed and undertook lots of training which, in addition to securing him a bronze medal in the Games, saw his fitness level greatly improve.
“Though he has recently faced some health problems, his improved fitness put him in a much stronger position to deal with this, plus he has recovered quicker and more fully than he would have done otherwise. His love of exercise has also helped to maintain his mobility and he manages to move around the home himself very well with the aid of his walking frame.
“John also regularly goes on outings which he would not have been fit enough to do without all his training for The Erskine Games.”
If John’s story has inspired you to vote for Erskine Celebrates the Commonwealth Games, then you can either vote online at: http://www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/project/erskine-celebrates-commonwealth-games or telephone 0844 836 9691. (Calls cost no more than 5p from a BT line). Voting closes at midnight on Wednesday 29th July.