Bowlers to pitch in for Alex

John Millerwith Alexander Muir at Musselburgh Bowling Club
John Millerwith Alexander Muir at Musselburgh Bowling Club
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HIS family is more closely associated with the football pitch than the bowling green.

But this weekend, John Miller – father of former Hibs star and Cardiff City striker Kenny – will be the centre of attention as he takes part in a 24-hour bowl-a-thon.

The outdoor bowling marathon at Musselburgh Bowling Club will raise funds for the son of one of the club’s members, Alexander Muir.

The 14-year-old Musselburgh Grammar pupil has battled a brain tumour since the age of five. He has been confined to a wheelchair following a life-saving operation last year – the fifth operation on his brain –which left him paralysed.

More than 60 bowlers will take part in the challenge, with at least 16 bowlers on the green at any one time.

Mr Miller, a member of the club for seven years, said: “The laddie is special to everybody in the bowling club because his father John has been a member for about 30 years.

“As a young kid, the laddie was on the green with his bowling gear on.

“It’s really amazing how people pull together when it comes to something like this. It will be a good feeling knowing we have done all this for the lad.”

The father-of-two, who lives in Musselburgh, added: “We have been thinking about getting something organised for Alexander for a couple of years. The response from members has been brilliant – within ten minutes of the sheet for the bowl-a-thon going up, we had 25 names.”

Members from Inveresk and Whitecraig Bowling Clubs will also take part in the event.

The bowlers hope to raise around £8000, which will purchase a standing frame to support Alexander and allow him to stand for a few minutes at a time, as well as helping to build his muscles up.

At the end of the bowl-a-thon on Saturday, Alexander and his family will be presented with a cheque by former Hibs and Celtic star Jackie McNamara.

Mr Miller, a coach painter, said: “Kenny was trying to get up to do the cheque presentation but he’s playing at Hull on Saturday and then he’s meeting up with the Scotland squad.

“It will be emotional on the night when we present the cheque to the family.”

The 55-year-old added: “At the beginning of the bowl-a-thon, we will have the champion from this year and the champion from last year, and the oldest and longest member of the club, Bob Arthur, and Alexander’s grandad, Sandy Muir, playing the first bowls.”

Alexander’s mum Eira, 44, said: “I can’t believe how kind people have been – it’s been amazing.

“It has been quite upsetting for a lot of them at the bowling club to see the changes in Alexander, and that’s made them more determined to try and help us. The guys at the club have been absolutely amazing.”

Members of the club have already raised £5000 through sponsorship. The bowl-a-thon begins at 6pm tomorrow.

laura.cummings@edinburghnews.com