13-year-old Ryan Turnbull raises £3,400 to purchase AED for Melrose BC

Throughout the 2021 season we have been extremely inspired to see many of our clubs and members get involved in amazing community work. Bowling clubs throughout Scotland truly are at the heart of their local communities and the last 18 months has certainly highlighted this.

Ryan Turnbull, a 13-year-old member of Melrose Bowling Club, has now raised an astounding £3,400 for the club to purchase a defibrillator. This incredible young man is the club’s youngest member and thanks to his efforts the club will now be able to install a defibrillator for members and surrounding community use.

On Saturday 18th September the club held a ‘Bowls Marathon’ with Ryan and a team of four fellow members playing bowls for 12 consecutive hours. The youngster came up with the concept of the day as he wanted a project to focus on throughout the school summer holidays and assist his club in obtaining this potentially life saving equipment. Melrose Bowling Club’s committee were more than happy to support Ryan with his plans for the day with the focus for his fundraising activities centring around an on-green event which could support the off-green project goal. Ryan and his mum, Nicola, began exploring defibrillator options available to the club and came up with the ambitious target of raising £1,500 for a suitable device.

Melrose’s committee assisted Ryan with sponsorship forms and set up a Just Giving page to ensure fellow members and local businesses could easily contribute to the fundraising. Donations also came from neighbouring bowling clubs in the Borders whilst Ryan was pro-active in obtaining donations of food from The Bakehouse Bakery, Dalgetty’s Bakers and The Burts Hotel to ensure the marathon team were well fed throughout the day. The Trophy Guy in Galashiels secretly arranged for medals to be supplied to Ryan’s marathon team of Craig Elliot, Ian Crawford, Neil McNally and Gary Thorburn at the conclusion of the event. These were kindly provided at no cost to the club. Dave Howieson at DH Design & Print, Kelso also supported the day by donating branded hoodies for the marathon team to proudly wear.

The format of the day was for the marathon team to play games from 7am until 7pm against eight opposition teams that had each signed up to play 90-minute matches. Six of the eight teams were made up of members from Melrose Bowling Club that were keen to be a part of the day and actively participate. The remaining two teams supporting the event were from Gala Bowling Club and Newtown St Boswells Bowling Club. A large crowd of around 50 members, family and friends gathered for the final match of the day at 5.30pm and at the conclusion of play Ryan proudly announced the fundraising total of over £3,200 (which has subsequently risen to £3400). To recognise and thank Ryan for this unbelievable achievement, Melrose’s committee have agreed to provide a contribution towards a new set of bowls for him before the beginning of the 2022 season.

All donations and contributions towards the hugely successful day will enable Melrose Bowling Club to purchase a defibrillator that will be situated externally from the clubhouse to allow instant access for members and the local community. As Ryan managed to raise over double the amount of his initial £1,500 target, he intends for the additional monies to be used to purchase a second defibrillator. This will be gifted and situated somewhere most in need within the local community and be accessible to all.

Extremely proud of Ryan and everyone involved with the marathon bowls day, Melrose Bowling Club’s Secretary, Lee Haldane, said: One of our key principles from the outset was to ensure that Ryan was very much the driving force behind the project, rather than take it from him and diminish his involvement. Equally, we were mindful to ensure that he received all the support he required throughout the preparation phase leading up to the event itself.

“Another key feature has been the enormous support and encouragement from Ryan’s own family. It’s hard to comprehend what a massive achievement this has been for a young lad, and it has been amazing to see his growth and relentless determination to achieve and succeed throughout.

“My advice to other clubs would be to start to talk about the benefits of having a defibrillator in place. We see it as an investment to add a vital resource to our facilities that has the potential to save lives. Outside the obvious benefits, we feel that this summer has demonstrated that with a can-do attitude so much can be achieved.

“As a club we are immensely proud of Ryan for his foresight, drive, determination, and enthusiasm to give something back to the club and the sport he loves. He is a real inspiration and example to others.”


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