With Guide Dog ‘Ripley’ by his side, Fred Tarry has dreams of one day representing Australia in lawn bowls.

Fred was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) in 1994 and has found bowling to be an incredible outlet while dealing with his changing vision.

For Fred, lawn bowls is a sport that offers so much more than what it says on the box.

“I started playing lawn bowls years ago, but then I stopped for a while and only really took it up again when I had to leave work because of my vision loss. I just had to do something,” Fred said.

Fred playing lawn bowls with other members of the bowls club

“It gets you out and about and it’s given me so much more confidence being out in public. The club is very supportive and it’s very social as well.”

Another source of Fred’s additional confidence is his first Guide Dog ‘Ripley’. The pair have been inseparable and have worked together for almost three years.

Fred with Guide Dog Ripley.

“She is just fantastic really,” Fred said with affection.

“She gets me onto trains and buses and helps me get to the Geebung Bowls Club no worries at all.

“She even travelled to Mackay with me when I competed in the Disability Lawn Bowls State Championships last September.”

Fred won two silver medals at the state championships – one in the open men’s singles and one in the open pairs competition.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Fred also competes at a high level against fully-sighted bowlers.

‘Ripley’ is by his side for every event, carrying out her important Guide Dog duties while also landing herself the role of club mascot.

“Ripley has her own mascot card that she wears around her neck when we are at the club,” Fred said. “She’s very popular.”

Fred encouraged anyone who was interested in lawn bowls to give it a go.

“The Queensland Blind Bowlers Association is very supportive and welcomes people of any skill level,” Fred said.

For more information visit The Queensland Blind Bowlers’ Association.

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