Ping Pong Playing Pensioners Bat for Table Tennis Success

by Cat Timoney

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

A 94 year old from East Lothian has reignited her childhood love of table tennis thanks to a generous grant awarded to Haddington Table Tennis Club by The People’s Projects.

Joan James, aged 94, who lives at Bield’s The Butts retirement housing development in Haddington, has been enjoying the use of table tennis equipment delivered straight to their lounge, where tenants have enjoyed getting involved in taster lessons.

Used to playing with her family before the days of TV, where they would compete for a toy trophy, Joan now competes in singles and doubles matches with other tenants.

She said: “I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as much, it makes you feel so good.

“You’re not talking about everyday things because you’re too busy concentrating on the ball. It also gives you some company and exercise which is great!”

Asked by Haddington Table Tennis Club, if tenants would like to attend a session in the community hall, staff at The Butts suggested the table be brought to them.

Now, following The People’s Projects funding, tenants are to benefit from increased access to equipment as well as more opportunities for residents to engage with the club and local community.

Kate Donohoe, manager at The Butts, believes that the table tennis has had a great impact on the tenants so far and is excited for the increased opportunities the successful bid will bring.

She said: “The table tennis has really brought those who play together.

“It’s all great fun and the main thing is just getting the ball over the net.

“When they play they are completely absorbed in the game!”

Kate hopes that tenants can become more involved with the local community.

She added: “We would love to play with volunteers from school, people in the community and  people from other retirement housing developments – the more the merrier!”

“The table and the equipment have brought a lot of joy to the development and given everyone a chance to have a laugh whether they are playing, watching or commentating. I’m looking forward to seeing the opportunities this funding will provide!”

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