Superstar Gemma at House of Lords

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The House of Lords proved a push-over for one D&A College student from Monifieth recently.

Gemma Lumsdaine was asked to address the Lords, both spiritual and temporal, at a Westminster event to launch Supporting Tomorrow’s Superstars Campaign, which is raising money to buy a new wheelchair rugby chair for each WCR Club across the UK and Ireland – nine chairs for 19 clubs.

The campaign is run by children’s rugby charity, Wooden Spoon, and Gemma, who is enrolled in the HND coaching and developing sport programme at the Gardyne Campus, was asked to speak at reception as she is a member of the Caledonian Crushers WCR – Scotland’s only league wheelchair rugby team.

The 19-year-old joined the club last year and believes taking part in the full-contact, fast-paced sport has boosted her self-confidence and developed her social skills.

So much so that Gemma was not going to pass on the chance of becoming a poster girl for a charity which has distributed more than £24million and helped more than a million children who are in some way disadvantaged.

Gemma now appears in an array of posters and pop-up stands promoting the campaign.

The former New School Butterstone pupil was also happy – though nervous – to personally appear in front of about 100 people, including at least two Paralympians, at the Westminster event and talk about her experiences playing WCR.

“Despite being the most nerve-wracking thing I have ever done it was an amazing experience,” said the student.

“I met Andy Barrow who played at the Paralympics in Athens and Beijing, Tim Visser who scored two tries against the All Blacks on his Murrayfield debut, and English world cup winner Phil Vickery.

“It was a night I will never forget and hopefully will result in more people becoming involved in wheelchair rugby.

“You can’t play rugby in an everyday wheelchair, it isn’t practical nor safe so for our club to get a new chair means we can welcome a new player and offer them the same thrills and camaraderie that we all enjoy.”