Celebrating Champions of Inclusivity: Recognition Awards at the National Disability Championship

By Matt Stevens
June 27, 2024

Since 2023, the National Disability Championship has not only showcased incredible athletes with disabilities participating in tenpin bowling but also taken the time to acknowledge the extraordinary individuals who ensure the success of the event. These influential people play a crucial role in making the championship possible, and their contributions are recognised and celebrated.

Volunteer Recognition Awards

The official opening ceremony of the 35th National Disability Championship, held on the first Saturday of the event, once again honoured individuals who have made outstanding contributions to disability tenpin bowling with the annual Volunteer Recognition Awards.

These acknowledgements celebrate those who ensure people with disabilities have equal access to opportunities within the sport. This year’s recipients included Lyn Beebe from Victoria and Sandra Cusack from the ACT.

Lyn Beebe – Victoria

Lyn Beebe has been a cornerstone of disability tenpin since the early days of the National Championship 33 years ago. For 32 of those years, Lyn has selflessly served her home state of Victoria in a voluntary capacity. Additionally, she has been a fierce competitor, representing both herself and her state for many years.

Lyn’s dedication to disability sports spans an impressive 54 years, during which she has contributed to numerous sporting organisations. Her tireless efforts in fundraising and raffle sales have consistently exceeded expectations. She has managed entries, masters, and documentation for a significant portion of the state team with exceptional diligence and attention to detail.

Always the first to volunteer, Lyn’s commitment and assistance have been invaluable. Congratulations, Lyn Beebe, for your remarkable contribution and the positive impact you’ve had on tenpin bowling in Australia.

Sandra Cusack – ACT

Sandra Cusack, a dedicated individual from our host city, was the perfect choice to be acknowledged at this year’s event. Sandra is a friend, confidant, and rock to many, known for her patience, understanding, and selflessness.

Despite the pressures of work, managing her home, and being a loyal carer, Sandra always finds time for tenpin bowling. In addition to participating in her own bowling league, she devotes her Saturday mornings to coaching and inspiring others who look up to her with immense gratitude and admiration.

Sandra’s long career at one place has forged lifelong bonds, and her impact is best described through the eyes of one of her students who has known her for over 30 years. He shared stories of the many challenges Sandra helped him overcome, the sports trips they enjoyed, and the friendships formed—highlighting trips with Special Olympics, swimming, drama, and even a memorable journey to Japan.

It’s evident that Sandra’s continuous selflessness and support have significantly enhanced the lives and capabilities of many in Canberra. Congratulations, Sandra Cusack, for your remarkable volunteer efforts and for making a profound difference in tenpin bowling in Australia.

Roll of Honour

Introduced in 2023, the Roll of Honour recognises players, coaches, administrators, and carers with 10-15 years for their contributions to the sport of tenpin bowling.

This year’s inductees were the late Mr. Alan Hatton and his wife, Carol Hatton from South Australia.

Inducted in the SA Tenpin Hall of Fame in 2014, both Alan and Carol have been involved in tenpin bowling for people with disabilities for over 30 years. 

In 1988, Alan formed the Saturday Specials Disabled Tenpin Bowling League with just eight bowlers, Today, this league has grown with over 50 bowlers competing in 16 teams.  Together with wife Carol, they formed the SA State Disabilities Committee with Carol as Secretary organising tournaments, state titles, tirelessly sending out entry forms to inputting the scores for the results. Alan was elected to the National Disabilities Committee in 2009, resigning due to ill health in 2021, was a bronze level coach from 2013, coaching the Michael Cooke Open Team last year at their home centre of Noarlunga.

The Hattons have contributed for many decades for our sport for people with disabilities.  It was a touching moment as Carol not only accepted her acknowledgment but also for Alan who passed late last year.

Tenpin Bowling Australia and the Australian Disabilities Tenpin Incorporated extend their thanks to the Hon Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA, Minister of Health, Children, Youth & Family Services, Disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, for presenting the Volunteer Recognition Awards at the opening ceremony. Your presence and support added great value to the event, and we appreciate the time taken to attend.