The Roseangle Badminton Club, which meets every Thursday night in the toasty gym hall at Dundee West Church, has been a staple of the city’s amateur sporting scene for more than 80 years.
And part of that story is Bill Garland, 79, who has been running the not-for-profit group since the 1960s.
The former head of maths at Arbroath High School started playing with the club – the oldest of its kind in Dundee – when he was just 13 years old.
He quickly fell in love with the sport and was soon named treasury and secretary of the club, before going on to become the president of the Dundee Area Badminton Association (DABA) – a role he held for 11 years following his retirement from teaching in 2007.
Why did Bill decide to take up badminton?
He says he started going along to the Saturday afternoon sessions held by the Roseangle Badminton Club – then known as the Mccheyne Badminton Club – after hearing about it at the Boys’ Brigade.
At this time, the club operated at Mccheyne Church on Perth Road, before it merged with Roseangle Ryehill on St Peter’s Street to form Dundee West Church in the 1990s.
Although Bill was a complete beginner, the sport came naturally to him.
Within a couple of years, he had been appointed to the club’s team, which competes in division one of DABA league.
Laughing, he added: “A tennis racket was too heavy for me when I was 13 years old.
“I just found it difficult to get to grips with tennis, and badminton was nice from that point of view.”
‘Age is no barrier to badminton’
Bill stresses that people of all ages and abilities are welcome at the club, which currently has around 10 regular members.
He said: “Age is not a barrier. You just need to be able to hit the shuttlecock occasionally.
“It is open to everybody no matter their age.”
But he admits he can’t play like he once used to.
He said: “It is frustrating now, standing on the court and watching the shuttlecock go by, and thinking, ‘Four or five years ago I could have done something about that’.
“I’m embarrassed of going on the court now and every now and then someone will say ‘Good shot, Bill!’ and I’ll think, ‘Aye right!’
“But the people at the club are very supportive with us who are now the lesser players.”
Who plays with Roseangle Badminton Club?
Although the group takes a relaxed and sociable approach to the sport, Bill says there is still a competitive spirit.
He said: “Over the years we’ve had quite a number of members.
“Obviously staying in the first division of the main league is important, but we take a relaxed approach.
“Most people just enjoy the company as well as a little bit of exercise.
“We have plenty of beginners who come along and gradually improve, which is nice to see.”
He adds that it is also a healthier alternative to the pub for those who just want to socialise.
Bill, who has two sons and two grandchildren, has balanced the voluntary role with his work and home life over the years.
But he insists it is “not a big deal”.
He said: “I just collect the money on a Thursday evening, buy the shuttlecocks and buy anything else that is necessary.
“When I first started playing it was one shilling a night. We now take £3 a night.”
As well as the cost of equipment, the money covers rent at the church, where Bill is also a session clerk and property convenor.
Why does Bill think people give badminton a go?
He said: “It just gives folk an opportunity to have a chat and just get a wee bit of exercise.
“We just enjoy the game and the company.
“Otherwise I would be sitting in front of the TV!”