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Lothian Disability Sport News

News & Updates from Lothian Disability Sport

Virtual Sportshall Athletics Championships

Sportshall Athletics

LDS are inviting entries for athletes of all ages and disabilities to represent Lothian at the first ever Virtual Sportshall Athletics Championship.

The event will be run in two parts - 

Now until 30/04/2021 - Sign Up and Practice Time

03/05/21 – 14/05/21 - Competition Period

The 5 events are as follows -

  • Event 1 - 75m Shuttle Sprint
  • Event 2 - Target Throw
  • Event 3 - Standing Long Push
  • Event 4 - Chest Push
  • Event 5 - Speed Bounce

Further information about each event can be found here - https://www.scottishdisabilitysport.com/sportshall2021/

How to sign up

Email Jack Brodie - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. expressing your interest. You will then be sent a document to capture the entry information needed for each participant along with further information about the format of the competition.


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Richard's Three Charities Walk

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LDS Archery Co-Ordinator Richard Vallis is undertaking a sponsored walk as part of his daily exercise during lockdown.

Richard is an above the knee amputee who will be completing 100 laps of his garden, which works out to be around 4 miles! Funds raised will be split between Lothian Disability Sport, Lung Ha's Theatre Company & Friends of Chitambo, three charities which are close to Richard's heart.

Please follow the link below to donate and support Richard on his Three Charities Walk. 

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Lothian Disability Sport Events Suspended

In light of the current situation, Scottish Disability Sport have taken the decision to suspend their events until the end of 2020.

As a result of this guidance, all regional and schools events organised by Lothian Disability Sport scheduled before the end of 2020 will now also be cancelled. We will do our best to reschedule events but this may not always be possible.

Thank you for your understanding. We hope to see you all at an event in the not too distant future.

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The SDS National Carpet Bowls Championships for 2020 took place on Saturday 22nd February at Dundee International Sports Centre. 10 bowlers had qualified from our regional event to represent Lothian and their efforts led to one of the strongest Lothian performances in history.

In the Men's Ambulant and B3 section, Neil Shirley played well but didn't manage to pick up any points in a tough group.

In the Ladies Learning Disability section, Susan Drummond, Gillian Brown and Carol Whyte all advanced to the second round but it was Emma Armstrong who stole the show with a string of dominant performances taking her to the final where she held off Dundee's Christine Fisher to win 15-10. A phenomenal performance for Emma who only took up the sport 6 months ago.

In the Men's Learning Disability section, Lothian had an unprecedented 4 semi finalists. In the semis, Ronnie McLintock defeated defending champion Colin Robertson whilst Euan Wright won a nail biter 13-12 against Stewart Martin. In the final, Ronnie continued his consistent form to win 17-10 and take home the trophy for 2020.

Congratulations to all of the Lothian team on their fantastic performances.

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LDS Receive Magic Little Grant

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LDS were delighted to receive £500 through Magic Little Grants which is a delivered through Localgiving & Postcode Community Trust which is a grant giving charity funded by People's Postcode Lottery. We used our grant to create our new Strategic Plan, which I'm sure you'll agree looks fantastic! 

A huge thank you to Localgiving, the Postcode Community Trust and all the players of the People's Postcode Lottery!

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Lothian Carpet Bowls Championships 2020

Carpet Bowls 2020


Saturday 11th January saw the 2020 edition of the Lothian Disability Sport Carpet Bowls Championships take place at Musselburgh Sports Centre. 15 bowlers competed on the day, with extremely competitive games taking place across the sections.

In the male section of the draw, there were some unexpected results and some extremely tight games with a few bowlers extremely unlucky to miss out on the quarter final stage. The quarters saw Neil Shirley, Euan Wright, Stewart Martin and last year’s SDS National Champion Colin Robertson advance to the semi-finals. Stewart continued his fantastic upturn in form to upset Colin whilst Euan continued his consistent play to defeat Neil. Stewart’s great form came to an end in the final however, as Euan comfortably took home the trophy for this year.

In the ladies section, four bowlers competed in a round robin format with Prestonpans BC’s Gillian Brown emerging undefeated to claim first place. The other places were hotly contested, with every player picking up points but it was Susan Drummond of Lothian Special Olympics who finished runner up.

Spectators commented that this year was one of the most competitive championships in recent memory which highlights the depth of talent currently playing carpet bowls in the region. A team of 9 bowlers will now go on to Dundee to represent Lothian at the SDS National Championships in February.

Thanks must go to the staff at Musselburgh Sports Centre and the volunteers who helped to mark ties on the day, particularly our head umpire Richard Douglas.

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LDS Archery Competition 2019

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The second annual LDS archery competition was held on 8th December 2019 at Meadowmill Sports Centre. 11 archers took part in the fun shoot with regular Meadowmill archers joined by others from Fife, Borders and West Lothian.

After practice shots and sighters, the competition element of the day took place with each archer completing a half Portsmouth round of 30 arrows. The competition was played out in fantastic spirits with all archers showing great support of one another.

Many thanks to the staff at Meadowmill, Nick at Cutting Edge Engraving for supplying medals and trophies and to Mary for being Lady Paramount and awarding the trophies. An extra thank you to all the LDS archery volunteers who worked hard to make this a special day for all who were there.

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LDS Football Participation Event 2020

Football Participation 2019

LDS Football Participation Event

Saltire Soccer Centre in Mayfield, Midlothian again played host to this year's LDS Football Participation Event. 59 pupils from across Lothian were given the chance to take on some skills stations delivered by coaches from Midlothian Council and Street Soccer. The stations gave the pupils a chance to brush up on their shooting, passing, dribbling and control before putting those skills into practice during some small sided friendly games which saw some fantastic team work and great goals.

Thanks are extended to the coaches who led stations on the day, Saltire Soccer Centre for providing an excellent venue and to Midlothian Council's Active Schools team for their support in the organisation and delivery of the day.

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SDS National Junior Swim Champs (LD)


Wednesday 20th November saw Tollcross International Swim Centre play host to the Scottish Disability Sport National Junior Swimming Championships for Swimmers with a Learning Disability.

Lothian had a strong team of 17 swimmers representing the region on the day. Each swimmer had qualified via their performances at the LDS Regional Swim Qualifier in October. The majority of the team built on their qualification performances by recording faster times with many reaching finals and even finishing in the medal places.

The team were a credit to Lothian not just through their fantastic swims but also through their behaviour and constant support of their team mates.

The full Lothian team was as follows: Brogan McKerral, Michael Disharoon, Lucy Pollock, Rosie Pink-Smith (Cedarbank); Mackenzie Martin, Callum McIntosh, Tia Timoney, Emily Clarke, Kiki McLeod, Sam Elliot, James Ellis, Shannon Mooney, Jordon Mooney (Woodlands); Dylan Hurst (Deans CHS); Andrew Sutherland (Preston Lodge HS); Grace Hall (Cockenzie PS) & Ellie Cockburn (Pinewood)

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Lothian Schools Swim Qualifier 2019


Thursday 10th October saw the Lothian Schools Swim Qualifier take place at Mercat Gait Centre, Prestonpans. This year saw an increase in swimmers with 40 young people in attendance. There was representation across all four local authorities with both mainstream and ASN specific schools taking part.

The gala acts as a qualifying event for the Scottish Disability Sport Championships for swimmers with a physical disability or sensory impairment and also swimmers with a learning disability. Times are recorded from the Regional event and a Lothian squad is then selected to represent the region at the National event, giving swimmers the opportunity to test themselves against individuals from other areas of the country. This year's event saw some swimmers attending for the first time which provided them with the chance to experience the competition environment, gain confidence and build relationships with their peers.

Thanks must go to Jenny Potts and the team from Midlothian Active Schools who supported in the organisation and delivery of the gala and to the volunteers who came along to help with refereeing, marshalling and timekeeping as without them this gala could not have taken place.

Well done to all competitors for their fantastic efforts.

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Saturday 21st September saw the annual LDS Autumn Swim Gala take place at Mercat Gait Centre in Prestonpans. Always well attended, this time was no different with 52 swimmers competing, with many of the region's disability specific swimming clubs represented. The morning session saw some swimmers competing in their first gala whilst the afternoon had some great performances from some of Lothian's top para swimmers.

At this gala each year, the Mark Headden Memorial Trophy is awarded to the Most Improver Swimmer of the Year. This year's winner was Callum McIntosh from Lothian Waves who has overcome anxiety and health issues to have his best year in swimming to date. Callum has managed huge improvements on his personal best times and has been moved in to the top group of swimmers at Lothian Waves, whilst approaching every session with enthusiasm and a smile. Well done Callum!

Callum McIntosh

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The LDS AGM was held at Meggetland Sports Complex on Monday 17th June 2019. This preceded the Annual Awards Ceremony as LDS continue to recognise the considerable achievements of athletes, clubs, coaches and volunteers over the previous twelve months and celebrate the consequent impact these individuals have on disability sport across the Lothian region.  LDS are proud to work alongside and support a whole host of talented, dedicated and inspirational individuals.
Multi medal winning Paralympian Jim Anderson OBE presented to awards to the following winners:
Senior Sportsperson of the Year - Ken Talbot (handcycling) 

Keen cyclist Ken Talbot embarked on a truly amazing journey in 2018, aiming to break the world hand cycling record as part of a University of Liverpool Velocipede team competing at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge (WHPSC) held in Nevada, United States of America.

Edinburgh based Talbot, took on the challenge and pushed the limits of handcycling and his personal fitness, aiming to ‘realise a childhood dream and go beyond the limits of disability to become one of the fastest cyclists on the planet’. 

Ken was selected to take part in the World Human Powered Speed Challenge in Battle Mountain, Nevada where top riders join forces with engineers to push the boundaries in the cycling world. 

he recorded a speed of 51.86mph to become the fastest man ever on a hand cycle – breaking the previous record which had stood since 2011!  In the process, Talbot also become the first ever person to record speeds of over 50mph on a hand cycle.

Young Sportsperson of the Year - Kate Bolan (swimming) 
Kate has had to overcome some challenges in her swimming career as not only is she visually impaired, in recent years she has been diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Type 3 and POTS – as symptoms from these conditions Kate suffers mostly with hypermobility with weak fragile joints (easy dislocations), circulation issues and chronic pain. However, her passion and love for swimming has never faded.
This passion was rewarded this year when she broke 2 records. The first of those came at the SDS Senior Swimming Championships where she set the event record for the 100m back and this was followed up by her performances at the British Para World Series 2019 where she recorded a 17 second PB for 400m Free, only to take a further 12 second off of that time in the final, breaking Scottish Record that stood for 30 years in the process!
Coach of the Year - Danny Kirkham (Swimming) 
Danny Kirkham has been head coach at Musselburgh Amateur Swimming Club (MASC) since September 2018 and has worked superbly well, alongside the club committee, to continue the inclusive approach that has welcomed and developed a number of swimmers with a disability. During his short time as head coach with MASC, Kirkham has further strengthened relationships with existing swimmers with a disability at the club ensuring that training programmes are tailored, and the needs of the individuals are met effectively.  The 23-year-old has also been key in welcoming new swimmers with a disability into the club, ensuring that swimmers and parents are aware of goals & objectives and how to successfully achieve them. 
In addition to his busy schedule with MASC and also East Lothian Swim Team (ELST), Kirkham has also been keen to support the Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) Regional Squad & National squads working with the top para swimmers from the East of Scotland and across the nation. Danny supported Scottish teams at major Para Swim meets in Manchester (National Para Swimming Championships) and Glasgow (British Para-Swimming International Meet).  Slotting into the role as assistant manager, Kirkham has relished the opportunity to learn more about para swimming.
Endeavour Award - Corey McDowall (swimming) 

Corey has overcome many challenges this year – Having moved clubs earlier this year where he was attending one session a week, Corey now trains on average five sessions each week with the odd week training six sessions.

This has been both a physical and mental challenge for him however his resilience and love for swimming has been tremendous. Corey has worked hard to build awareness of uncomfortable/challenging environments and has learned how to cope/stay calm and process it in a more positive way.

Corey has CP and autism, he had low confidence on his ability to complete a land training session of body weight exercises and stretches. However, he has worked hard to understand and build knowledge on his weaknesses and strengths and his openness to working with coaches and the support of team members. His confidence has increased dramatically and has impressed on his ability to perform body weight exercises with impressive technique, he attends a local gym to further build himself physically and has overcome the mental/emotional apprehension of something he didn’t think was possible.
Team of the Year - Dalkeith Thistle Pan Disability Team (football)
Dalkeith Thistle CFC noticed a lack of opportunities for players with disabilities in the region, and quickly set about changing this. From initial start-up the club had 12 signed players and they now have 30 regular members with numbers increasing week on week.
The team were entered into PAN Disability Division 2 League Championship, playing in 7 league days starting in September 2018 and ending in April 2019. On 28th April the team lifted the league cup in their debut season (conceding16 goals and losing only 4 matches). This was quickly followed by winning  the Section 2 (Champ D2/League 1) Scottish Cup. A fantastic inagural season.
Jim Anderson OBE Bursary - Sam Downie (swimming)
13 year old Sam, has a complex & rare condition called Caudal Regrsession Syndrome which presents itself through missing his lower spine, tethered spinal cord, limb deformity, muscle weakness and motor/sensory challenges.  Despite his level of impairment, Sam continues to train around 12 hours per week in the pool in addition to land training at club and home, highlighting how motivated the youngster is to achieve his ultimate goal of becoming a Paralympic swimmer. 

The Edinburgh based youngster continues to train with Lothian Racers as well as Musselburgh Amateur Swimming Club where he has developed an excellent working relationship with Head Coach Danny Kirkham.  In addition to this, Sam was also invited to join East Lothian Swim Team (ELST) in August 2018, a huge achievement for any swimmer as this represents an introduction to the performance swim environment.  However, Sam is not just happy being part of the squad and continues to excel – this was highlighted as he received the East Lothian Swim Team Future Star Award for Break Through Junior Swimmer earlier this year.  This recognition is no mean feat considering the quality of swimmer involved in the ELST Programme. 

Sam is also a member of the Scottish national squad and this year has continued to achieve some excellent results in the pool with positive performances recorded at the British Para-Swimming Championships in Manchester (December 2018), the British Junior Para-Swimming Championship in Liverpool (March 2019) and the British Para-Swimming International Meet in Glasgow (April 2019).  Each of these performances yielded several medals and personal best times.

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Inagural B Inspired Cup is Hotly Contested

B Inspired Football Cup


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Lothian Disability Sport have been working in partnership with Broxburn United Sports Club to develop a new football event as part of our calendar of events. The first edition of the cup took place on Tuesday 11th June at Albyn Park in Broxburn with teams from Cedarbank and Pinewood Schools in West Lothian battling it out to take home the coveted trophy.

The players had the chance to develop their skills through various stations led by Sports Leader pupils from Broxburn Academy and then had the opportunity to put these skills into practice in some small sided games. Throughout the games, points were awarded for shows of both skill and sportsmanship and the school with the most points were awarded the trophy. On this ocassion, Cedarbank came out on top by just 3 points to take home the B Inspired Cup.

Huge thanks go to Ahren White from Broxburn United for his efforts in organising and delivering the event. Thank yous are also extended to the school staff, sports leaders and pupils who helped make it a great event and one which we hope will continue to grow in coming years.

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Lothian Athletes Compete on National Level

SDS National Junior Athletics Championships

Wednesday 5th June saw 22 Lothian athletes compete against others from across the country. The Championships, held at Grangemouth Stadium, are a firm favourite in the calendar and historically Lothian athletes have always performed well. This year was no different, as each athlete returned home with at least one medal - fantastic performances all round!

The Lothian team was comprised of athletes who had performed well at our Regional Athletics Championships in May, and included young people from 3 of the 4 local authorities in Lothian. Our full team was as follows: Tiffany Panton, Nathan Gardner, Kyle Schuller, Josiah Adusei, David Lancastle (Kaimes); Abby Bryson, David Pele, Dean Hamilton, Ben McDougall, Jade Isdale (Pinewood); Jenny Doyle, Billie-Jo Faulds, Dylan Kean, Robert Findlay, Rosie Pink-Smith (Cedarbank); Jonathan Daniel, Max Alexander (Elphinstone PS); Finlay Menzies (Balerno HS); Leona Loftus-Stewart (St Gabriel's PS) and Kate Snodgrass (George Watson's).

Congratulations to all athletes involved and a huge thank you to the teachers, school staff, parents and volunteers who help to make these events such a success.

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Strong Showing at SDS Indoor Bowls Championships

Bowls Team LD


Four bowlers represented Lothian at the SDS Indoor Bowls Championships for bowlers with a learning disability on Monday 28th April at Falkirk Indoor Bowling Club. Robbie Anderson and Paul Clapperton performed well in the group stages of the Male Open A Section and both were unlucky not to progress to the latter rounds of the competition after each bowler suffered a tight loss to the eventual finalists.

In the woman's section, Christina McSherry registered some impressive wins, but eventually finished in third place overall in the round robin format following some close games.

Lothian had the defending champion in the Open B section in the shape of Euan Wright and the trophy will now be staying in Lothian until 2020. Euan was extremely consistent throughout the competition and ended the day undefeated on his way to the championship. A fantastic achievement!

Congratulations to all 4 bowlers, each of whom represented Lothian brilliantly throughout the competition.

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LDS Spring Swim Gala 2019

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Saturday 30th March saw the annual LDS Spring Swim Gala take place at Mercat Gait Centre, Prestonpans. Entries for this event are always high and this year was no different with swimmers from the following clubs taking part - Lothian Racers, Loanhead Dolphins, Lothian Waves, Livingston & District Dolphins, Musselburgh Flyers, Musselburgh Marlins, Swim-IT, North Berwick Swimming Club, Allstars ASC, Knox Academy and Borders Barracudas.

The event saw plenty of success with many swimmers achieving new personal bests whilst some swimmers took part in their first competitive races.

Medals were presented on the day by Lothian Special Olympics athlete Shannon Crosbie. Shannon has recently returned from the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi where she won a gold and silver medal as part of Team GB. Our thanks go out to Shannon and I'm sure she will have provided some inspiration for many of our competitors. A thank you is also extended to the officials time keepers, announcer, club coaches and volunteers for supporting the event and allowing everything to run smoothly.

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Having a Ball at the Schools Boccia Festival

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Thursday 21st February saw over 80 school pupils take part in the Regional Schools Boccia Festival at Jack Kane Centre. The event was organised in partnership with Edinburgh Active Schools and Scottish Disability Sport whilst Edinburgh Leisure staff provided support on the day.

Participants were led through a series of skills stations by Edinburgh College Sport & Fitness students who were fantastic in their delivery. The enthusiasm and enjoyment of the participants and staff was clear to see and the event was once again a great success.

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National Carpet Bowls Sees Lothian Success

Lothian had a succesful day at the SDS National Carpet Bowls Championships on 2nd February at Dundee International Sports Complex. The region had a strong team of 8 bowlers competing on the day, 

In the Mixed Ambulant & B3 section Lothian’s Neil Shirley a three-time winner of this event competed in a very strong group including multiple title-winning bowlers Billy Allan and Maria Spencer from Fife and newcomer Glen Livingston, also from Fife. It was Glen who ultimately finished with the title beating Neil into second place.

In the section for male bowlers with a learning disability Lothian’s Colin Robertson battled his way to the national title in another very competitive category. Colin came out on top by just one point at the end of the event and took home the trophy for this year.

Well done to all bowlers for representing the branch brilliantly throughout and thank you to the organisers and volunteers at SDS who put on another great event.

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Lothian Carpet Bowls Championship 2019

Carpet bowls 2019

Musselburgh Sports Centre once again played host to the Lothian Carpet Bowls Championship on Saturday 13th January 2019. Always a tightly contested event, this year's edition was no different. 15 bowlers with a learning disability battled it out on the day with Alan Gordon and Lisa Wilkie (pictured in the middle above) tasting triumph in the male and female categories respectively. Also pictured are runners up John McMillan and Susan Drummond.

Well done to the winners and all bowlers who participated, making the event very competitive and enjoyable throughout.  Thanks is extended to Musselburgh Sports Centre and all volunteers who gave up time to mark ties and support the event.

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LDS Archery Competition Hits Gold

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The first ever Lothian Disability Sport Archery Competition took place on Sunday 16th December at Meadowmill Sports Centre, East Lothian. The event saw archers come together from the LDS Archery Group, No Limits and Scottish War Blinded to compete over 10m distance. Bill Steven from Scottish War Blinded took home the inagural winner's cup, whilst Aileen from LDS Archery Group took home the Most Improved Archer award for her efforts at the Wednesday morning shoot over the year.

This year was the 15th anniversary of the LDS session at Meadowmill, and founders Richard Vallis and Jimmy Berry were honoured on the day (pictured above). Their dedication over the years has allowed hundreds of people to try archery, many of them falling in love with the sport. They have also been committed to mentoring new volunteers and coaches which has led to the Wednesday group now having a host of dedicated and passionate instructors and coaches who are helping to take the session forward.

Thanks must go to the LDS Archery Group who organised and delivered the event and to archers, all of whom posted some very respectable scores.

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LDS News

This section will include all the latest news and updates on disability sport across the Lothian region - information on Regional and National events can be found in the Event Section of the website.

If you have exciting news you would like to share regarding disability sport in the Lothians, please get in touch on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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