David Heddle set the standard in outdoor and indoor bowls in Scotland for successive generations of performance bowlers with a physical disability. David was the only Scottish disabled bowler to win gold medals at a Paralympic and Commonwealth Games.
The little man from Fraserburgh was known in bowls circles throughout Scotland and in every game he played, he performed with passion, determination and no shortage of skill. David was the SDS Lawn Bowls singles Champion 12 times between 1990 and 2002 and throughout his career was rarely defeated on the short carpet. His influence on the development of bowls for physically disabled players in Scotland is unique and has been long lasting.
David was the last Scottish international bowler to win a gold medal in a Paralympic Games on the last occasion that bowls was included in the Paralympic Games programme. The city was Atlanta in 1996 and there was no more deserving gold medalist at the time because he was in his very best form. The playing surface was particularly challenging for all players but David in true northern spirit led from the front and inspired other British bowlers to outstanding performances.
Sadly bowls never appeared on the Paralympic programme after Atlanta but when a mens triple for physically disabled bowlers was included in the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, David was an automatic pick and he did not disappoint. On a rainy Manchester day, in front of the First Minister and many enthusiastic spectators, David led the Scottish triple to a para – sport gold medal in the most challenging of conditions. In World Championships David similarly played his part and during his life there was no more respected bowler at national and international level than the man from Fraserburgh. The respect he commanded in mainstream bowls was exceptional and paved the way for much
of the inclusive opportunities in the sport that are the norm of the present.
Sadly David passed away in 2006 prior to the IBD World Championships in Australia but two years after receiving the MBE at Holyrood alongside his beloved wife Joey. He was unable to team up in Australia with the small squad of Scots who had been influenced by him during his career at the top. David Heddle’s contribution to disability bowls has been exceptional and long lasting and has set the standard that successive Scots have aspired to over the last decade. David was voted SDS Sports Person of the Year in 2003 and has a street in Fraserburgh named after him.