There are more than 950 clubs across Scotland

SINCE I started out on this Para-Sports quest, I have observed, engaged, taken part and lent my support in whatever capacity required of me to champion awareness of Para-Sports, including learning to play Lawn Bowls.

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I have competed against celebrities to raise the sport's profile and met athletes who have achieved great things on the green.

It is clear that Lawn Bowls has come a long way since its inception in the 13th century, and it is now growing in popularity as we build-up towards Glasgow 2014.

Already there are more than 950 bowling clubs across Scotland, where many successful Scottish bowlers honed their skills before going on to play professionally.

One of them is David Gourlay, now head coach for the Scottish Commonwealth Games squad.

Lawn Bowls was the first Glasgow 2014 para-sport I tested for the Evening Times, and for that I was introduced to Anne Dunwoodie, PR manager for Taylor Bowls and a Scotland Lawn Bowls international.

She has achieved 50 caps in her career, and Anne and I have remained in touch.

Just a couple of weeks after trying at Lawn Bowls, she invited me to see bowls being made at Taylor Bowls.

The factory is in Bernard Street, Bridgeton, and was founded by the Taylor family in 1796. Current owners, the Herons, took over in 1992.

It was initially a wood-turning business that listed among its early products wooden legs for the wounded of the Napoleonic Wars and musical instruments.

Gradually the business of the company turned more towards the manufacture of bowls.

Last year, my local Lawn Bowls club, Woodend asked me to support the launch of GlasBowl2013 - a programme which aims to get 1000 young people playing bowls before Glasgow 2014.

The initiative was based on a similar project undertaken by Creetown Bowling Club.

Woodend Bowling Club was already plugging junior engagement with primary and secondary schools in Jordanhill during the National Sports Week and this was the perfect platform to progress that engagement throughout the wider community using the forthcoming 2014 Commonwealth Games as a springboard to reinforce participation and interest.

Much of the driving force has come from Tom Hamilton, a member at Woodend Bowling Club who sits on the gents committee and is also a member of the committee of management for the whole organisation of Woodend Bowling and Lawn Tennis Club.

My involvement with the club includes being the volunteer development officer and child protection officer.

And it has recently been revealed that the club has achieved 2014 Legacy status from Glasgow City Council, as well as being nominated for Glasgow Life, Glasgow Club Of The Year Award this year.

IN August last year, Jordanhil Bowling Club pulled together an incredible line up of celebrities - including actors MSPs, radio presenters and comedians - for celebrity Lawn Bowls at Kelvingrove.

We had Judy Murray, John Beattie, Des Clarke, Feargal Dalton, Colin McCredie, Kenny McLean, Bill Kidd MSP, Pauline O'Donnell, the sister of Jacqueline O'Donnell (The Sisters Restaurant), Sanjeev Kohli and Des Clarke, Capital FM Radio presenter.

Now we wait for the coaches and selection committee to reveal the squad to represent Scotland's Bowls team at Glasgow 2014.

The announcement is expected at the end of next month.

It is then that the really intensive work will begin as the focus is put on the selected squad and the pace is stepped up to drive them towards their medal target.


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