Team Shetland ready to hit the road

Ready to hit the road – Keith Lobban, Ian Smith and Gail Bray. Photo: Adam Guest
Ready to hit the road – Keith Lobban, Ian Smith and Gail Bray. Photo: Adam Guest

Bikes, bows and phsyio beds are busily being packed up today ready for the NatWest Island Games in Jersey.

The two Team Shetland vans are carrying the majority of the athletes’ kit and are being driven by volunteer-competitors Joan Smith and Keith Lobban, and parents of competitors, Ian Smith and Gail Bray.

Jersey 2015 Main Logo PortraitAfter arriving in Aberdeen the vans will be driven to the south coast of England, before a second ferry crossing from Poole to Jersey, covering a total distance of more than 900 miles.

Gail’s son Haldane Bray, 15, will get his first taste of the games as part of Shetland’s table tennis team.

He will continue a long family association with the games – Gail was an athlete in the swimming team in first games in the Isle of Man in 1985 and was helping with the swimmers in Guernsey 1987.

On their trip south the drivers will be stopping off in Carlisle to pick up triathlete Louise Parr.

And as the anticipation of the big event grows Gail is looking forward to making the long journey to Jersey.

“I think it’s the excitement of meeting athletes from your own discipline,” she said.

“I think it’s the whole atmosphere of the games which is really inspirational, especially for the young ones coming along and getting an opportunity to compete.”

“It will be a great chance for people who have already been to the games and competed and seeing old friends, and getting the chance to see how they have improved over the years.”
Secretary of the Shetland Island Games Association, Bob Kerr was on hand to help load up the equipment.

“I feel like we’re almost making a little bit of history here, this is possibly the biggest sports trip to go off the island,” he said.

“I’ve been involved in many sports trips to Aberdeen and Inverness and down to Glasgow and so on, but to take 130 plus people from Shetland to Aberdeen and then on to Jersey is a massive logistical exercise and we’ve spent a lot of time discussing it and making sure everyone is happy with all the arrangements.”

Team Shetland will arrive on Thursday, two days before the opening ceremony.

This will give the athletes the chance to settle in, familiarise themselves with the venues, and put in final preparations.

The Shetland Times will be joining the team in Jersey with regular online reports and updates on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure you are following us to get the latest news on #TeamShetland at #Jersey 2015.


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