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Perth man whose son has cerebral palsy centered on incapacity sport

A Perth man is in line for a high honor after leaving his senior function at Tesco to work in incapacity sport.

Graeme Doig, 46, who grew up within the Oakbank space, is up for the neighborhood champion award on this yr’s Scottish Sports activities Awards.

The ceremony will see the likes of Eve Muirhead, Eilish McColgan and Laura Muir fri for different prizes.

Ten years in the past Graeme started volunteering in incapacity sport after his son Matthew, now 17, was recognized with cerebral palsy.

He first helped out at Perth Strathtay Harriers and has since been a devoted native volunteer, giving up 20 hours of his time every week.

In 2018 Graeme give up his job at Tesco after 26 years’ service to turn into Scottish Incapacity Sport’s Tayside supervisor.

On this function he has arrange quite a lot of completely different incapacity classes and sports activities golf equipment, together with the Perth Eagles Wheelchair Sports activities and Boccia Membership, the place he’s additionally a volunteer.

secret nomination

Showing on the awards shortlist got here as a complete shock for Graeme, who has lived in Luncarty since 2003.

He was secretly nominated by a coach at Perth Strathtay Harriers, the place he nonetheless volunteers.

Graeme Doig is up for the neighborhood champion award on this yr’s Scottish Sports activities Awards. Picture: Graeme Doig.

“I obtained an e mail by final week and I did not even suppose it was real,” he stated.

“And the subsequent day folks despatched me messages congratulating me for the nomination. That’s when it sank in.

“I’m very humbled to be nominated.”

Labored up from the underside

After leaving Perth Excessive Faculty Graeme went straight right into a junior function at Tesco.

He labored at 13 completely different shops, together with the grocery store’s department on Crieff Highway, as he progressed to changing into a senior supervisor.

Because of commuting calls for he moved to Dalgety Bay along with his fiancée Laura, who nonetheless works at Tesco as head of buyer operations.

4 years later they obtained married and returned to the Perth space to begin a household.

In addition to Matthew they’re mother and father to Nathan, 14.

Wheelchair challenges

When Matthew was recognized with cerebral palsy it was the start of a steep studying curve for his father.

Graeme Doig says his outlook was modified by his son Matthew’s cerebral palsy prognosis. Picture: Graeme Doig.

“It modified my outlook,” Graeme stated.

“Rising up by faculty and in my very massive prolonged household there was nobody with a incapacity.

“This was the primary expertise of being concerned with an individual with a incapacity.

“It was positively eye opening to see the challenges they face, the issues we take without any consideration and do not even take into consideration.”

Reminiscent of?

“There’s only a few drop down kerbs for wheelchairs to get down,” he stated.

“Generally it’s important to go half a mile to get the wheelchair down the kerb safely.”

Aspirations to be within the Paralympics

On the Harriers, Matthew developed a ardour for body operating.

On this sport, athletes compete utilizing a operating bike – a pedal-free three-wheeled body with a saddle and physique help.

Individuals use their legs to propel themselves ahead.

Matthew Doig framerunning. Picture: Graeme Doig.

“Matthew cannot run unaided however he can run extraordinarily quick on a body runner,” Graeme stated.

“He loves going to class, he loves increase velocity and could be very very aggressive as effectively – like his dad.

“He’s excelling and exceeding all our expectations. The membership has been so supportive as effectively.”

Matthew competes throughout the UK and has been to Denmark seven instances for the CPISRA worldwide body operating cup.

“He’s progressing extraordinarily effectively,” Graeme stated.

“He has aspirations to be within the Paralympics and if he retains going as he has been he ought to get there for the Los Angeles Video games in 2028.”

First cerebral palsy soccer group

Graeme typically spends Saturdays volunteering with the athletics membership.

On Sundays he often takes a number one function at Syngenta Juveniles, the primary Scottish soccer membership to have a particular cerebral palsy group for kids.

Matthew takes after his father as a St Johnstone-supporting soccer fan, so he was eager to get entangled with the Grangemouth-based membership.

Graeme initially attended as a father or mother helper earlier than changing into a coach after which taking observe classes.

If all that is not sufficient, he additionally additionally spends round 10 hours every week volunteering at Perth Dolphins Incapacity Swim Membership.

Tesco ‘wasn’t for me anymore’

Graeme loved working for Tesco however this concerned loads of travelling.

Mixed with the volunteering, his way of life had turn into very demanding.

“It simply wasn’t for me anymore,” he stated.

“My spouse instructed me I ought to change my profession if I may discover one thing I’m keen about and I did that.

“I obtained coaching, {qualifications} and volunteered my coronary heart out once more.”

Laura, Nathan, Matthew and Graeme Doig. Picture: Graeme Doig.

It labored, and he now runs the Perth and Kinross Incapacity Sport charity and in addition works for Scottish Incapacity Sport.

“I haven’t got a job anymore – I’ve a life-style,” Graeme stated.

“I really like my job and I’m very lucky that my job can be my passion, which is supporting sports activities golf equipment and volunteering.

“I really adore it. I really like the distinction it makes to folks’s lives. It is extremely very rewarding.”

51 weekly classes

Chief amongst his achievements is the truth that Perth and Kinross now has 51 completely different weekly classes for folks with disabilities.

Graeme says he has made this occur by working “with different likeminded folks.”

“There’s a actually good menu of alternatives that there weren’t earlier than,” he stated.

“Plenty of these golf equipment and classes have been created on my own in partnership with different folks and different organisations.

“It’s about bringing all of it collectively so folks know the place to come back in the event that they need to get entangled in a selected sport.”

Give attention to ‘skill, not incapacity’

Graeme’s success stems not solely from his skill to strategize however in his angle.

He takes the identical method to different disabled athletes as he does to Matthew, who makes use of strolling sticks and a wheelchair for longer distances.

“I’m by no means one to deal with incapacity, I all the time deal with skill,” Graeme stated.

“I see the individual, not the incapacity.

“I deal with making variations to ensure they’re included and having enjoyable, perhaps assembly new folks, getting fitter and, for some folks reducing weight.

“It is leisure for individuals who need to play and have enjoyable however there may be additionally a progressive facet to it.

“I’ve seen my son undergo it with Scottish athletics and I’m serving to lots of people progress by pathways and go into competitions dwelling and overseas.”

Cadyn for Scotland

One of many athletes he has helped at Perth Eagles is Cadyn Thomson.

The 18 yr outdated is at the moment Scotland’s vice-captain on the wheelchair rugby league world cup in England.

Graeme needs to see the likes of Cadyn obtain extra recognition.

“In the course of the Paralympics there may be a number of stuff within the media about incapacity sport however then there’s nothing after that, regardless that there are many world and European championships occurring,” he stated.

“I need to elevate the profile and let folks know what’s going on.

“One more reason I do that is to see the grins on the faces of our athletes.

“You notice you’re doing a extremely good job once you see these smiles.”

The Scottish Sports activities Awards happen on the Edinburgh Worldwide Convention Middle on Wednesday, December 7

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