By Grania Shankley
Today, Sheila Hynes celebrated her 90th birthday with family and friends at a surprise gathering at Scotstoun.
The celebration was a true recognition of her lifetime dedication and passion for badminton over the years both as a player and volunteer.
Mother of three, grandmother to seven – six boys and one girl and great grandmother to three, Sheila has still found the time to play badminton for over 70 years!
Badminton has always been an important part of Sheila’s life, playing and volunteering whenever possible to help the sport flourish and grow.
At the surprise party, Sheila told us where her love for badminton began: “I came from Edinburgh initially and I started in a local church in Scotland where a friend and I played for years and then we managed to get into matches and things like that”.
At the fine age of 90, Sheila continues to attend Glasgow Sports lifestyle badminton programme twice a week at Scotstoun Badminton Academy (Tuesdays and Thursdays) and is an absolute inspiration – the friendships and social interactions off court match the physical benefits to staying active!
The Glasgow Sports Lifestyle programme has been running for 25+ years, and when reminiscing her badminton highlights, Sheila told us: “I have played at local match standard and quite enjoyed it. Finding this club especially because it used to be a 50+ age group and then as we all got older we continued to play”.
Badminton Scotland CEO Keith Russell also made a surprise visit to Scotstoun for Sheila’s celebration, presenting a centenary book plus other gifts on behalf of Badminton Scotland.
Sheila has volunteered at sporting competitions for many years – collecting an impressive 37 medals and ID badges from her volunteering. The majority have been earned from badminton competitions including the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games held in Edinburgh in 1986, the Special Olympics in Glasgow in 1990 and 2005 and various other top level sporting championships.
Sheila worked on the information desk at many events which she enjoyed but not before her passion as a driver (until her age limited her ability to fulfil a driving role – which understandably Sheila didn’t take well too!!)
She absolutely loved being a driver, especially looking after overseas visitors and if she was lucky she got a French team, it gave her the opportunity to practice her French – “I loved driving because of all the different people that you were able to meet”.
“One time I ran out of petrol on the M8 going to the airport in a minibus full of Frenchmen and I had to run off the motorway at Paisley to order two taxis to pick them up.”
Advice for others looking to get into badminton
Badminton has always been and continues to be a huge part of Sheila’s life and has undoubtedly served her well as an active 90 year old player.
When asked about advice she would give to anyone thinking about getting involved in badminton, Sheila says: “Just Go for it! Sport has I think contributed to my long life because I’ve just never stopped. I think if you keep moving… and you know I don’t move as fast as I used to… but yes you’ve got to keep moving!”
Everyone at Badminton Scotland would like to wish Sheila a Happy 90th Birthday!
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