PJ to spend more time in his PJs

All ICA members I’m sure will want to wish PJ Wilson a long and happy retirement.

PJ 1Our immediate past Pres left the employment of Dumfries & Galloway Council today after over 40 years looking after the roads network. PJWilsonYou can see from these two photos what spending that length of time filling in potholes does to you.

Anyway, we can expect to see him using the free bus services for pensioners to attend ICA bonspiels from now on. Can anyone tell him where the nearest bus stop to Greenacres is?


Thanks for the support!

Three Shades of Gray

The Three Shades of Gray

Just a quick postscript to the Blenheim Palace Triathlon that I participated in this summer.
A huge thank you to everyone who supported us both by message and donation. The Three Shades of Gray, (my sister Kathy, brother Ian and I) managed to raise over £10,000 in aid of Lymphoma and Leukaemia Reasearch due to the unbelievable generosity of those who donated.cp20x30-BPTF4362
The day was cold and wet which didn’t make for a particularly pleasant experience but the scale of the event was staggering and it was great to be part of it in a stunning location. We managed to finish 194th out of 259 in our race which was pretty good for three novices. I took great heart from the fact that the majority of the cyclists who overtook me (and there were many) were all about half my age!! We have already wondered if we could improve on that next year………….A bit more training required methinks. Watch this space. Now for some sedate games of curling over the winter.

There’s good news and bad news……

Winning skip Robin Gray

Robin Gray

The ICA will hopefully be seeing a bit more of one of our long-standing international curlers when Robin Gray moves back home to Scotland next month to take up a new post in Edinburgh with his employers, The Royal Bank of Scotland.

But the bad news is he has decided to end his Irish international curling career to concentrate on the Scottish Senior Championships in 2016.

During his 15 years as a banking executive in Dublin, the 51-year old  has always kept his curling shoes handy and in 2004 he was part of the first Irish men’s team to compete at international level in the European Championships B League. Since then he has racked up the fine total of 95 caps for his adopted county, with 54 wins and 41 losses. Robin played in the team that famously qualified for Ireland’s first world championships in Lowell, USA in 2006. He was in both teams that played the European Champions at A League level in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 2005 and Basle in 2006, where he skipped Ireland to a memorable win over Thomas Ulsrud’s high-class Norwegian foursome. He played in the European B Division in Sophia 2004, Fussen 2007, Aberdeen 2009, Champery 2010 and Moscow 2011, winning a gold, silver and bronze medal. Robin also skipped Ireland at two European Mixed Championships, in Erzurum 2012 and  Edinburgh 2013.

Prior to moving to the Emerald Isle he skipped his Greenacres junior team to the Scottish Championships in 1982 going on to win a bronze medal at the World Juniors in Ferdericton, Canada. In 1990 he was Scotland skip at the European Championships in Lillehammer, Norway, where he lost in the final to Sweden by one shot.

Before the removal van arrived,  Robin had time to look back over his Irish curling adventures as well as look forward to getting involved in much more curling action in the near future.

He said: ”Playing for Ireland has been an honour and a blast. It has been said that one day we could write a book about it and I may well do! Hopefully being back in Scotland will allow me to curl far more at club level and get my hand back in, which has been lacking too much when trying to play once a year in the Irish playdowns. Also, I look forward to joining in the domestic Irish bonspiels far more than I have been able to in the past.”

The ICA wish Robin and his family all the very best for their move back home and every success in his new role.


Skins runout for our ladies

Hazel, Clare, Alison and Ailsa

Hazel, Clare, Alison and Ailsa

The Irish Ladies team commenced their European C Division warm up by getting together at the Stirling Summer Skins held at The Peak this weekend (31 July – 2 August). After a good but rather unfruitful start against the eventual tournament runners-up, the team of Alison Fyfe, Ailsa Anderson, Hazel Gormley-Leahy and Clare McCormack (Katie Kerr was unavailable due acting commitments in New York) returned with two solid wins on Saturday morning. The final game of the day was a very close affair with some brilliant shots being played, most notably a double takeout and freeze in the fourth end by Skip, Alison. Unfortunately, the opposition took the big money, final end and the win. The Skins were great fun and thoroughly enjoyed by the team. On the whole a good, solid start to the ladies campaign. The ladies wish to thank all of the ICA supporters, including Coach, Martin Sutherland for coming out to cheer on the team.

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: