Multi-Disability Bowls welcomes Ben Hellyer to the sport with some help from Raymond Terrace Men's Shed

HERE TO HELP: Ben Hellyer has received a little help to bowl from Multi-Bowls organiser Adam Nicholas, Men's Shed  secretary-treasurer Frank Seysener, nurse-carer Cyndy Gam, and Lloyd Mitchell (Men's Shed). Picture: Sam Norris

HERE TO HELP: Ben Hellyer has received a little help to bowl from Multi-Bowls organiser Adam Nicholas, Men's Shed secretary-treasurer Frank Seysener, nurse-carer Cyndy Gam, and Lloyd Mitchell (Men's Shed). Picture: Sam Norris

Ben Hellyer can’t hold a bowl but that doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy a roll up with friends at Raymond Terrace Bowling Club each week.

Mr Hellyer lives at Woodville and has joined the growing ranks of people with a disability who get together every Wednesday night.

Organisers welcome people with all kinds of disabilities thought they admit they were a little stuck at first on how to help Mr Hellyer who has an acute case of cerebral palsy. 

“I thought ‘10-pin bowling has a ramp’ but from all my phone calls I couldn’t find anyone who made one for lawn bowls,” Multi-Disability Bowls organiser Adam Nicholas said.

“Henceforth we decided to build one and that’s when we spoke to Raymond Terrace Men’s Shed about the design.”

Unlike a 10-pin bowling ball, bowls aren’t perfect round and are in fact biased to help the bowl curve on its path down the rink.

With some persistence and help from Mr Nicholas and Mr Hellyer, the Men’s Shed manager to tweak the design to overcome the wobble each bowl tended to develop as it moved down the ramp.

“There are a lot of people out there with a disability but there’s no such thing as can’t, only can,” nurse-carer Cyndy Gam said.

“I go to Bingo and raffles with Ben, and he has a good social life.

“I’m hopeful more people like Ben can have a go at bowls with the use of this ramp.”

Men’s Shed secretary-manager Frank Seysener said the men were only too happy to help when approached for help.

“We try to help with a lot of community jobs but we hadn’t done anything like this before,” he said.

“This one’s been a little tricky getting the measurements and angles right but we’re just about there.”

Multi-Disability Bowls was launched a year ago. 

Participants pay $5 to take part in the Wednesday night sessions with a trophy presentation at the end of the season.

This has developed into the inaugural Multi-Disability Bowls Lawn Bowls Championships on May 21.

“We’re happy to adapt and find ways for people to participate,” Mr Nicholas said.

“It gets people out of the house and into the fresh air to socialise and have some fun.

“They also talk about ways they overcome different challenges and they might take a few ideas home about how to do things differently.

“The NDIS has been a big topic of discussion.”

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