Pamela Mitchell from Dunfermline was the first Disability Sport Fife (DSF) bowler with a learning disability to win a UK title. The occasion was the Special Olympics Summer Games in Brighton in 1986 and mainstream international bowler Tony Alcock remarked on Pamela’s exceptional skills at the time. Pamela excelled in singles and pairs and set a standard that others from Fife have tried to live up to. Pamela has been a prolific winner of Scottish and Fife titles but a recent run of poor health interfered with her bowls plans. With all that behind her Pamela made a return to the DSF bowls team that retained the Inter Area title at Kelvingrove in 2015 and she has not looked back since.
Pamela is a member at Headwell Indoor Bowling Club where she has played her bowls for many years. This weekend past, Pamela played second in the Headwell Ladies Four at the SIBA National Fours. Sadie Philp played lead, Claire Ewing played third and the Skip was Sarah Ewing, Director to IBD visually impaired world champion Maria Spencer from Dunfermline. DSF is fiercely proud of the partnerships it has with inclusive bowling clubs across Fife and Headwell Indoor is a fine example of a club that encourages all sections of the community, including bowlers with disabilities.
On Saturday Team Headwell defeated Cumbernauld 24-14 and on Sunday morning recorded a second victory against Falkirk by 28-9. The final match of the weekend resulted in a narrow quarter final victory over East Fife Indoor by 17-16 in a match that could have gone either way. In this match Team Headwell played a team with three full Scottish internationals, one of whom is scheduled to play in New Zealand this month. Skip Sarah Ewing was exceptionally complimentary about Pamela and how she held her nerve in every tie. Pamela delivered a series of quality bowls at two and helped send Team Headwell to the semi finals in Aberdeen in March to play Fife neighbours Abbeyview. Pamela and her team mates are only two games away from representing Scotland in the British Isles Championships.
Earlier this month I reported on the three DSF member athletes who helped Fife AC to a third place finish in a major cross country competition. Pamela Mitchell has similarly contributed to the success of Team Headwell at the SIBA National Fours. This proves conclusively that performance athletes with a disability have the potential to make a very positive contribution to the competition ambitions of mainstream sports clubs. Most importantly however it demonstrates that DSF members are not only valued and appreciated as performance athletes but that Fife has many sports clubs that are inclusive in ethos and practice. Brilliant job Pamela. We shall all be behind you in Aberdeen.
Richard Brickley MBE
President, Disability Sport Fife