Friend­ship over bowls

Central Leader - - NEWS - By STRUAN PUR­DIE

Pi­rates and Mex­i­cans alike took to the bowl­ing green in a one of a kind tour­na­ment at the ASB Sta­dium.

The tour­na­ment was run by the non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion Com­mu­ni­care who pro­vide care, com­pan­ion­ship and sup­port for Auck­land’s el­derly.

Around 100 peo­ple turned out for the event last Fri­day with some teams get­ting into the fes­tive spirit with eye patches and som­breros.

Event or­gan­iser Eileen As­bury says the tour­na­ment runs ev­ery sec­ond year and is as much about build­ing friend­ships as com­pet­ing.

‘‘It’s a real high­light for them mainly be­cause they can come to­gether and prac­tise up in their teams and cre­ate a real ca­ma­raderie at­mos­phere.’’

Ev­ery other year Com­mu­ni­care hosts a mini Olympics where the el­derly com­pete in var­i­ous sports in­clud­ing bal­loon vol­ley­ball and vel­cro darts. The or­gan­i­sa­tion was es­tab­lished in 1959 and now has 23 friend­ship cen­tres around Auck­land where guests can en­joy var­i­ous crafts and play cards or in­door bowls.

Peter Keys started go­ing to Com­mu­ni­care’s cen­tre in Mt Eden af­ter mov­ing into a rest home fol­low­ing a stroke last Novem­ber.

He en­joys the 31⁄ hours he spends there each Mon­day.

‘‘It helps break up the days.’’

He also says he is in­cred­i­bly grate­ful to the car­ers who vol­un­teer their time at the cen­tres.

From un­der a hat cov­ered in yel­low smi­ley faces, Mr Keys spoke of his friend­ship with one of the Com­mu­ni­care vol­un­teers who re­cently lost a close fam­ily mem­ber.

‘‘I saw her three weeks ago and I said: ‘Thank you so much for look­ing af­ter me. Do you think I could give you a hug?’

‘‘She said sure, so I did and now we have a hug each time.’’

It is con­nec­tions like th­ese that have kept Com­mu­ni­care run­ning.

Pon­cho-clad:

Pho­tos: JA­SON OXENHAM

Ex­pe­ri­enced: Bal­moral res­i­dent Wil­liam Burr started bowl­ing when he was 20 years old and has since rep­re­sented New Zealand at the spe­cial olympics.

Game face: Flo Pre­ston from Avon­dale watches closely as her ball nears the kitty.

Avon­dale res­i­dent Gun­pat Val­abh looks on con­fi­dently from be­neath his som­brero. Land lovers: Royal Oak res­i­dents Mar­garet Morey, left, and Les­ley Lowe dressed for the oc­ca­sion at the Com­mu­ni­care bowl­ing tour­na­ment.

Chang­ing scenery: Peter Keys of Mt Eden says Com­mu­ni­care events help to break up the days with fun and friend­ship.

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