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Inverness Ice Centre and one of the city’s oldest curling clubs are both celebrating a double sweep with their 50th anniversary this year.

The 15 Club is understood to be one of the first curling teams formed when the ice centre opened in 1968 and it is still playing from the centre today.

Oldest, living member of the 15 Club, Dorothy Hadley, 98, has lived in Inverness for 58 years and was one of the founding members of the curling club which, to this day, is exclusively for doctors and their partners.

Mrs Hadley, a former GP, moved to Inverness with her husband, Monty, who was a consultant radiologist at the Royal Northern Infirmary and was invited to join the club by the late Margaret McIntosh.

There were initially only eight members but since the ladies all had family commitments they soon increased numbers to 15.

Mrs Hadley, who has four children, said: “When I first joined I'd never curled before and most of us had to learn from scratch so we weren’t competitive, we just enjoyed meeting up and playing together.  With 15 members, it meant we played two out of three weeks as we all had children so we couldn’t all commit every week.

“At the beginning, we’d agreed on a uniform of tartan skirts and tights, which had only just came into fashion at the time, however, we quickly discovered that this dresscode was not going to work for curling, so we had to rethink that!”

Mrs Hadley continued to play regularly for 25 years but as the times changed and the curling team became more competitive, she decided to retire from curling in 1993 at the age of 72 but 15 Club continues to thrive at the centre, playing weekly.

Inverness Ice Centre became a charitable organisation after it was bought by its users in 2002 and following a major upgrade is now one of the largest wet weather facilities in the north.

Chair of Inverness Ice Centre, Tom Pendreigh, said: “It was a real honour to meet Mrs Hadley and hear about her time with the curling club from its launch in the sixties. She is an amazing woman and a true inspiration with superb knowledge and a remarkable memory with some wonderful stories to tell.

“The Ice Centre has been a part of the community in Inverness for fifty years and it's brilliant that this curling club has continued throughout the years, creating friendships along the way.  Today, as well as curling, the centre brings all age groups together to enjoy a range of ice sports including curling, ice hockey and skating, but it is also plays host to a number of the city’s high profile events, such as the up coming Strictly Inverness.”

Mrs Hadley, who has nine grandchildren and is awaiting the arrival of her ninth great grandchild, is set to move to the east cost of Fife later this year to be closer to her daughter but has fond memories of her time curling at the ice centre.

“I’m delighted that the 15 Club is still going strong and Margaret would be very proud too.  I just loved it, we all did, and as we all had children it was nice to spend some time away meeting with friends.  From day one we played four ends and stopped for a short coffee break to hear everyone’s news, before carrying on with the second four ends and this is still the format the club uses today.  It was a very social group so we were all friends.”

15 Club still plays every Tuesday morning at the Ice Centre and has 16 members who are all associated with the hospital or medical practices, ranging in age from mid 30s to late 60s.

Maureen Fraser 2

Inverness Ice Centre secured life saving equipment

One of the largest wet weather facilities in the North has secured its own defibrillator, which members say may just save someone’s life.

The Inverness Ice Centre on Bught Drive raised more than £1,600 to ensure the well used sports and events facility has the life saving equipment available to all users of the centre.

The idea to install a defibrillator was initiated by Maureen Fraser, a member of the Inverness Curling Club for more than 40-years.

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