Visually Impaired bowler

Hi my name is Stephen and I’d like to share with you my journey.
I lost the majority of my sight in 2003, through Diabetic complications; within 6 months I had gone from having perfect vision to only detecting light sources. My career in dentistry had come to a grinding halt, I spent five years volunteering in my local community, assisting adults with learning difficulties, befriending and supporting asylum seekers, all with my new best friend and (guide dog Hector, followed by Alfie and currently Kingsley).
In 2012 I completed a degree and began working as an immigration advisor for asylum seekers but found the role took over too much of my spirit.
In 2018 I approached Tavistock Bowling Club and asked them if they could help me learn to play with my sight impairment.
I am now a member of DBE (disability bowls England) and VIBE(visually impaired bowls England).
I have represented Tavistock at National level for both organisations and have the following titles;
National Outdoor Pairs Champion 2019
South West Visually Impaired Indoor Triples Champion 2019
National VI Outdoor Pairs finalist 2021
National Outdoor Pairs plate finalist 2021
As you know 2020 sporting competitions were cancelled due to Covid-19. However when sport reopened properly in 2021 I was selected to play in the DBE High Performance Squad.

I love representing my local town, Tavistock and disability sports on an international stage. In April 2022 I played for England in the Para-Home Nations gaining my first international cap and we won!

However living. In the beautiful South West comes at a price for travelling to competitions and overnight accommodation.  For example, to play at Leamington Spa (the Wembley of bowls) costs £130 for a return train ticket, and £150 for 2 nights at a Premier Inn - £280 for one competition.
My next target is to compete in the VIBE nationals to gain entry into the 2027 World Blind Bowls Championships (Malaysia TBC). All sponsorships are to enable me to book more competitions around the country, raising my profile and that of disabled sports.

Thank you for reading.

Donations (18)

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  • Ursula Mann
    • £20 
    • 8 mos
  • Janice Hall
    • £20 
    • 8 mos
  • Jasmin Harries
    • £10 
    • 8 mos
  • Anonymous
    • £5 
    • 8 mos
  • Anonymous
    • £100 
    • 1 yr
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Stephen Hartley

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