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Forden’s World Record Breaker

Created on 09/09/2010 @ 11:59
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Recrod Breaker: Leah WebbForden’s Leah Webb is preparing for an upcoming indoor bowls season that could see her become a Guinness World Record Breaker.
For the great granny will be rolling down the woods at the grand age of 96, setting a new mark with the strong message to fellow senior citizens that “you are never too old!”.
And if you think that this alone is an incredible achievement, don’t be surprised to see Leah down your local on the oche this winter… because she has just bought a new set of darts!
The action gran has become an incredible source of inspiration to sportsmen and women of all ages, putting athletes a quarter of her age to shame with a zest for life that can be attributed to her life-long love of the outdoors and a determination not to quit.
“I always tell people that so long as you are healthy and enjoying your sport, then you should not give up playing,” she said. “Sport has a great way of bringing people together and there are always different standards for people to play at. So I say ‘keep going’ to anyone that asks. You should only stop when you are physically unable to carry on or simply stop enjoying it; not when someone tells you to stop because they think you are too old!”
Leah’s story is remarkable. A widow for 30 years, she helped to run Forden Youth Club and Badminton Club until her mid-80’s and only stopped driving last year because she faced a £500 MOT bill just as the insurance company hiked her premium by £100.
She has the appearance of a lady 25 years her junior and walks completely unaided, only needing to sit down sometimes during a long game of bowls.
Leah moved to Forden after her husband retired 38 years ago having spent time in Newtown during the war to escape the London blitz. Sadly her husband passed away five years later but she inherited his pride and joy by keeping the gardens immaculate at Edderton Drive.
As a woman living on her own, Leah was quick to immerse herself into the local community and even landed a job when most women her age had long since put work behind them.
“I really enjoyed working down at the Smithfield with Mervyn Hughes the caterers. I ended up spending 18 years there in total,” she said.
“But I really enjoyed helping with the youth club and the badminton club. It is great to see some of the kids grown up now that I used to see down there. It is just a shame that both clubs are no longer running.”
Bowls gave her another social avenue and while she has skipped the outdoor season this summer, she is looking forward to playing with a group of Churchstoke and Forden bowlers at the Flash Leisure Centre, starting next month.
“Bowls is such a wonderful sport,” she said. “For people like me, who have lost their husband or wife, it gets you out of the house. It brings you into groups and helps you build friendships. I am really looking forward to the new season. It has been a blow being unable to play summer bowls but I suffer from asthma and an irregular heart beat so I felt it best to save it for the indoor season.”
Leah says age has not diminished her competitive spirit as she always “does her best and plays to win” and jokes that her opponents probably raise their game because “they don’t want to lose to a 96 year-old!”.
And she has some comforting words of wisdom for anyone doubting themselves or feeling like giving up.
“If I can do it then you can do it!” she said. “Don’t let people tell you it is time to finish. If you are enjoying it then carry on. No matter what you are doing. This thing called life is very tough and it is easy to get disillusioned and go downhill, but you have to tackle the challenges and overcome them. Keep going and don’t leave things until tomorrow.”
Mywelshpool contacted Guinness World Records who are processing the claim.
The oldest outdoor lawn bowler recorded is Leslie Brittan who played at Woolwich and Plumstead Bowling Club in his centenary year (100). William Pattimore played for Wales in the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh at the age of 78 to be registered as the oldest international bowler.
But the indoor record is set to head Leah’s way who will be rolling back the years once again next month.
And as for the darts? Well, it appears, for the meantime at least, that Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor need not worry as she is merely playing for social fun with a few friends from the local Women’s Institute.
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