Home   Sport   Article

Forres businessman uses 3D printing technology to shape future of the Wheelies and Feeties curling team made up of wheelchair curlers and people living with Multiple Sclerosis who want to play sport


By Craig Christie

Easier access to your trusted, local news. Have a look at our digital subscription packages!



DISABILITY curling in Moray is benefiting from the wonders of technology, and the generosity of a Forres businessman.

The newly accessorised Wheelies and Feeties curling team, front (from left) Paul Wright, Dot Cameron, Lynne Russell and Jim Gault. Back row: Nicole Allan, Colin McGrath, Billy Cormack and club coach Sandra MacIver.  Picture: Becky Saunderson
The newly accessorised Wheelies and Feeties curling team, front (from left) Paul Wright, Dot Cameron, Lynne Russell and Jim Gault. Back row: Nicole Allan, Colin McGrath, Billy Cormack and club coach Sandra MacIver.  Picture: Becky Saunderson

Three years ago, Moray Province Curling Development Group coach Sandra MacIver was asked to lead a Try Curling taster session for members of a local multiple sclerosis group.

The success of this introductory stint led to the formation of the Wheelies and Feeties curling team, some of the squad being wheelchair curlers.

The team gained support from Moray’s international wheelchair curlers Jim Gault and Gregor Ewan, who have competed across the world for Scotland and Britain and won a Paralympics bronze medal for Team GB in Sochi, Russia in 2014.

Now the Wheelies and Feeties compete in the Moray Province League, which was put out of action for many months due to the closure of the Moray rink in the midst of the pandemic.

On returning to action this year, some of the players needed assistance with accessories used in disability curling, such as traditional curling cues and heads.

Help came from Forres businessman Bill Graham, who founded the T-Exchange makerspace charity, which owns a state-of-the-art 3D printing machine capable of designing an array of curling aids.

MacIver said: “Bill knows nothing about curling other than what he would see on the television. But he came along to see the wheelchair curlers, and they were able to show him their curling heads.

“Bill went off and created them on his 3D printer, and he came back several times because the Wheelies used them for a while and then wanted adaptations made, which he did.

“It is absolutely amazing what he has done. It has been of huge benefit to the curlers.”

Moray Leisure Centre regulars Gault and Ewan already had specially adapted cues which they used at the Paralympics, and these were used as the template for the new designs created at the T-Exchange.

“There are traditional cues, but for the wheelchair people, because they are lower down, the angle isn’t quite right,”MacIver added.

“Jim and Gregor came back from the Olympics with that style, and that is what the wheelchair players are now using.

“With there not being any curling here for two seasons, when we returned one of the Wheelies team found they had lost grip, so we’ve got an arm crutch which Bill is going to adapt so that he can deliver the stones in a certain way instead of trying to grip.

Bill Graham’s charity formed a group of 3D printing experts who put their skills to great use during the pandemic by making protective accessories such as lifesaving visors to help NHS staff deal more safely with coronavirus patients.

Meanwhile, the Wheelies and Feeties continue to compete against all the regular teams in the Moray Province league over the winter season, thanks to their new accessories.


Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More