For the third year in a row, veterans’ charity Erskine is holding a Sporting Games for its residents which will take place this Saturday at The High School of Glasgow.
Following on from the successes of The Erskine Commonwealth Games 2014 and the Sporting Senior Games 2015, Erskine residents have been in training for months for the day of fun competition.
With Saturday 1st October also being UK Older People’s Day – which celebrates and appreciates the contribution older people make to society – the date of the games is very apt.
The event is being held in partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), which hosted last year’s games. The University has significant research expertise in developing and evaluating new interventions to promote healthy living, maintain independence, and improve quality of life and activity in older adults. Forty Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy students and members of staff from GCU will volunteer at the games.
Veterans from each of Erskine’s four care homes will be joined by care home residents from West Lothian; Heathfield Nursing Home in Ayrshire and Nazareth Navigators in Midlothian. Nine teams will compete in six sports: basketball; boccia bowls; javelin; penalty shoot-out; kurling and cycling (on static bikes).
Erskine veterans are hoping to emulate their successes at previous games however the event encourages being active no matter what your age and doing your best no matter what your ability. So there will be no losers, all competitors will receive a rosette for taking part. Gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded for winning teams.
For the first time the overall winners of the Sporting Senior Games will be awarded the John Bowman Trophy, poignantly named after an Erskine resident who passed away earlier this year and so loved competing at the games. Army veteran John, originally from Clydebank, had an inspirational spirit and zest for life. As a keen cyclist in his younger years, John took part in every sporting activity on offer at Erskine. His family will attend on the day to present the Trophy.
Erskine’s Head Physiotherapist Janet Leith said: “After holding two very successful Sporting Events, we felt it was really important to hold games this year as part of our Centenary celebrations. Our residents have been in training for the individual events and competition to be selected for the teams is intense. We are passionate about promoting exercise and physical activity for all our residents as it contributes to promoting and maintaining their health and quality of life.”
Dawn Skelton, Professor of Ageing and Health at GCU, said: “We are delighted to be working again with Erskine and other partners to organise the games. As well as promoting the message that it’s important for older adults to remain active, the event provides an opportunity to have fun, and introduces a competitive element for those who might normally be excluded from such activities.
“It’s also a great opportunity for our students to gain hands on experience of working with older people.”
The Erskine Centenary Games will open at 11am with a speech by the charities Chief Executive Steve Conway, followed by a parade of teams complete with a piper. Then the games will begin.