Obituary – Isobel Fyfe 1933 – 2015

Isobel FyfeIsobel Fyfe, who passed away on Sunday, June 28th, aged 81, was one of the earliest members of the Irish Curling Association and one of its most loyal and dedicated curlers.
For many, many winters, alongside husband John, she pitched up at various ice rinks, for ICA bonspiels, weekend competitions, championships, qualifiers and Four Nations battles; beavering away on and off the ice as player and  match secretary.
Isobel represented Ireland at the World Senior Championships in Scotland, Canada, Sweden and Finland with the formidable squad of Fiona Turnbull, Jane Paterson, Kathie Nixon and Liz Knox. Isobel and Kathie became media celebrities at the Edmonton Worlds in 2007, where the highlight of the team’s curling career was beating Scotland.
Isobel especially loved the atmosphere of the Four Nations and, over the many  years she turned out for Ireland, she made a host of lifelong friends. There was always an invitation to her room for a party after the action, where her guests were fortified with ‘Isobel’s Mixture’ a mind-numbing concoction of Glayva, Drambuie and Green Ginger. Firewater not for the faint of heart.
Isobel was the proud mother of two international curlers; Neil, who plays for Ireland and Alastair, who, thanks to John’s nationality, plays for England. She was also absolutely bursting with pride last December when Neil and her granddaughter Alison won the Irish Mixed Doubles Championships together.
Born in Belfast in 1933, Isobel was one of three children of Robert and Mary Loughrey. The family relocated to Ballymena during the war after the shipyards were bombed, then moved round various provincial towns in the six counties with her bank manager father.
At high school in Magherafelt, Isobel showed her sporting talent on the hockey pitch where she was one of the most popular girls with the boys, as she wore one of the shortest gym frocks.
In 1951 she left Northern Ireland to study domestic science at the ‘Dough School’ in Glasgow. When playing hockey for the ‘Dough’ against Glasgow University boys, she met a young and very handsome medical student called John Fyfe. With a queue of girls to choose from, John’s heart was won over after Isobel played her ace card – learning how to score cricket matches, becoming the University’s official cricket scorer for several seasons.
After she graduated, Isobel worked as canteen manageress in the BOCM factory in Renfrew and she and John tied the knot in May 1959. Alastair was born the following April and twins Anne and Neil arrived in April 1962.
  Setting up home in Perth, family life brought contentment and fulfilment to Isobel  but she still undertook a lot of volunteer work during that time, including her famous soup kitchen and food parcels for those suffering a bereavement or some other misfortune.
Sport was always important to Isobel and, family commitments permitting,  she enjoyed  golf  and badminton. In 1975 she discovered curling and loved the game from the moment she stepped on the ice. To fill the gap in between the end of one curling season and the start of another she decided to take up bowling to keep her eye in.
Everyone in the ICA had the greatest respect and fondness for Isobel who was a stickler for good manners and proper etiquette. Woe betide any member who didn’t reply promptly to Isobel’s  email request for names!
After John’s death, she gritted her teeth and got on with life, turning up religiously at ICA events, continuing with her match secretary duties, playing or supporting, her dry wit intact, even though we all knew her heart was broken in two. But she regarded the ICA as her “extended family” and that family gathered round to support Isobel the way she had previously supported others.
She will be much missed by us all in the ICA, but especially by her teammates and close friends – Liz, Kathie, Fiona, Jane and Jean. As Kathie remarked at Isobel’s Memorial Service: “I just can’t believe Isobel’s gone.
“You  know, she and I played scrabble all over the world.”

Farewell Isobel Fyfe – a loyal, loving, sassy, kind, refined and proud Irishwoman.


Isobel Fyfe

Isobel Fyffes 80th BirthdayIt is with great regret that we report that one of our longest standing members, Isobel Fyfe, passed away on 28th June 2015.
Isobel held the ICA close to her heart and was an extremely active member, fulfilling the role of membership secretary for a number of years and representing Ireland on a number of occasions. Many will remember her for her constant good humour and her tireless work whenever Ireland were hosting the 4 Nations competition.
We will all miss her but none more so of course than her immediate and wider family. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to Alastair, Neil and Anne and their families.

Isobel will be hugely missed by all that had the good fortune to have known her.
A Memorial Service will be held at St Leonards-in-the-Fields Church, Perth PH2 8AG on Saturday 4th July 2015 at 10.30am.

Mixed Doubles in the Olympics

The WCF have just announced the following:
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed that Mixed Doubles curling has been approved as an additional event at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
The announcement was made following IOC Executive Board meeting held in Lausanne, Switzerland earlier today.
 This confirmation means that three curling events – Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles, will now be part of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games programme.
 Speaking of the announcement, World Curling Federation (WCF) President Kate Caithness said: “We are absolutely delighted with this news confirming that Mixed Doubles will be included in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Our athletes have showcased this exciting and dynamic alternative to traditional team curling at our World Mixed Doubles Championships for many years now and we’re thrilled that their progress has been rewarded by the IOC’s decision.”
She continued: “We are confident that that this addition to the Olympic programme will accelerate curling’s growth extensively over the coming years. As a result, this is another key step in the development of curling as we look to make our sport more accessible to everyone around the world.”
 Speaking of the potential opportunities this decision may now bring, WCF President Kate Caithness said: “You just have to look at some of the teams who have won medals at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship over the past few years – the likes of Hungary, Spain and Austria for example. They are associations that are improving year on year, particularly in Mixed Doubles, but find it difficult to break through in traditional curling competitions. Now that this discipline will be part of the Games, many more associations will have a chance of winning an Olympic medal.”
She continued: “We also hope that national sporting bodies will release additional funding to support Mixed Doubles teams. As a consequence, this will help further develop our sport, particularly in some of the associations where Mixed Doubles is proving increasingly popular.”
The WCF will now progress with finalising the qualification process for the Mixed Doubles curling event at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
Details of this process along with any changes to the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship will be announced at the upcoming World Curling Congress taking place in Belgrade, Serbia between 2-5 September 2015.
The next edition of the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship will take place in Karlstad, Sweden between 16 and 23 April 2016 and it is expected that the new Mixed Doubles Olympic Qualification System will be in place by then.

On yer bike Bill…..

Bill 2ICA secretary Bill Gray is putting on the lycra to take part in a Team Triathlon at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire on Saturday, June 13th, in aid of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research along with his brother and sister. Kathy is doing the 750m open water swim, Bill will be tackling the 20km bike ride and  Ian will finish with a 5km run.
If any ICA members felt inclined to sponsor the ‘Three Shades of Gray’ team go to:

Craig’s wedding

Ireland international curler Craig Whyte and his bride Fiona got married in February this year.
Fern Wedding Photography: Fiona & Craig's Wedding &emdash; Fiona & Craig's Wedding
Congratuations to both and here’s a snap of their happy day:

And there’s more…..

That was the week that was!!!

As we approach the part of the competition ( ie the post game celebrations) where ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour’ especially for Neil, an update blog from the Finals which are in progress.

What a day, yesterday!! The task facing us was pretty daunting to be honest but we were up for it. You might have been forgiven for thinking that we didn’t want to progress the way the skipper started the tiebreaker against the Czechs , missing a couple of easy takeouts . There was no panic in the camp tho as we felt that we were playing well and it was only a matter of time before we gained the upper hand which we did. It would have been great to have finished the game early but the Czechs stuck in and took us to the eighth. The final 7-6 score line flattered them somewhat as we were 7-4 up with the hammer and the skipper just had to remove one of their stones to complete the game.

The Iceberg Skating Palace

The Iceberg Skating Palace

We only had a very short break of around an hour and a half before our QF qualification game against the Australians, just enough time for yet another walk round the Olympic Plaza and for Neil to take some more photographs of the Iceberg building to go along with the two hundred or so that he had already amassed!! Then it was back to the curling hall for the next instalment of the incredible journey!!

The game against Australia was a pretty tight affair. We started well forcing a one in the first and then we coughed up a steal of two in the second to continue our run of poor starts overall. We collected a two in the third which could have been a three but Bill’s attempted hit and stick just rolled out a bit. We then finished the half well by stealing a single to go in to the break all square. We felt at that point that we were outplaying them so were happy at that point. We forced a single in the 5th and scored one while trying to blank the 6th. In the 7th were were lying really well to force the single again but Bill’s last stone attempted hit picked halfway up and found what looked like too narrow a gap between two stones to leave Hugh Milliken with a simple draw for two. The momentous last end was not really going our way at all for a long while but although the Aussies were lying one with one of our stones counting 2nd shot, Bill elected to freeze in the back corner eight foot to try and make something happen and did it ever happen!!! The opposing skips attempted hit was some way wide of the mark and only succeeded in rolling across the house in to the open and left us lying two with a hit for a three. A well swept hit followed and the win was secure. An absolutely fantastic result for the Fab Four to acclaim from the watching crowd. This was a performance which ultimately proved to be our ‘Final’. The emotion and adrenaline buzz from winning that game was not far short of some of the experiences of Tårnby.

A further short break made even shorter by the now legendary speed (or lack of it) of Russian table service and the boys wee back on the ice for the quarter final against USA. Right from the off it became apparent that the previous two games had begun to take their toll, particularly for David Hume who was struggling with tiredness and we eventually persuaded him to retire after the 5th end. By that time it was clear that we were up against a very focused, capable and fresh USA outfit. We played manfully through the pain and tiredness barriers and had a glimmer of a chance in the 6th end where we were lying really well and had a hit  through a narrow port to lie 3 and guarded.This time it was the skip’s turn to succumb to the rigours of the day, struggling to get the up weight hit away and caught the guard allowing the USA to draw for two. That was probably the final nail In the coffin as the USA went 6-2 up. We tried to construct a multiple score in the 7th but the USA skip played a great last stone draw to force Bill to draw the shot for a single 6-3. We played a great last end and had the opportunity to lie three and make the US skip play his last but Bill’s attempted side tap on a winger was just fractionally heavy and the game was were the boys!! We were totally shattered after that marathon and quite frankly it’s too much to expect Seniors to curl three games in a day at this level. I cannot understate the drive and determination that we showed all through the week and especially yesterday when our bodies were screaming at us to stop – well mine was anyway!! We never gave up even when things weren’t going our way and the teams we played against will be well aware of the fighting spirit of the Irish even when we were down to three men standing; as will anyone who saw us in action. We have had a fantastic week tinged with regret that the Big Man wasn’t with us physically-but he was definitely here in spirit. We have done ourselves proud and for me personally to stand in at the late stage for JJ was a huge step but I couldn’t have managed without the help and support of the Terrible Threequarters of the Fab Four. Thanks guys it was a privilege.

Fab Four on Tour

Fab Four on Tour