22 November 2016

Page 5


Making the beach ‘friendly’ for all

Soccer star wants his medals back

Keith Platt keith@mpnews.com.au PULLING up at a foreshore car park and walking across the beach to the water’s edge is as natural as putting up a beach umbrella and spreading out a towel. But try enjoying those simple pleasures if you are in a wheelchair. Suddenly the beach becomes and obstacle rather than a pleasure. Saturday 12 November is likely to become known among wheelchairbound residents on the Mornington Peninsula as the day they were first able to cross Mt Martha beach. They were able to confidently make their way to the water on plastic matting provided by Mornington Peninsula Shire in conjunction the Disabled Surfers Association Mornington Peninsula and Mt Martha Life Saving Club. On hand to test the new surface were Mark Hopper, of Safety Beach, and Sean Corcoran, of Mt Martha. The matting was laid out by lifesavers ahead of the public launch of the matting on Saturday 26 November. The 50 metres of matting will be trialled over summer and into autumn with a view to making it available elsewhere on the peninsula. The lifesaving club is also being provided with one of the DSAMP’s six wide-tyred beach wheelchairs. DSAMP secretary Bill Hallett said the wheelchairs (some bought with shire money) would be loaned out by the lifesaving clubs “for those who are a bit more adventurous and want to dip their toes in the water”.

Available to all: Bill Hallett and Virginia Richardson show Mark Hopper how to best use the wheelchair-friendly plastic matting being trialled by Mt Martha Life Saving Club.

He said the DSAMP wanted all of its beach-friendly Sandcruiser wheelchairs to be made available to the public when not needed for the association’s disabled surfing events. Mr Hallett said the Mt Martha life saving club was “kicking off” a Starfish group, “the equivalent of their

Nippers but for kids with a disability”. Virginia Richardson, the shire’s MetroAccess officer, said the results of the Mt Martha trial could see matting provided at other peninsula beaches. She said the beach matting would be rolled out each weekend until 30 April.

The matting and the trial was a step towards “making more beaches on the peninsula accessible to everyone”. The beach accessible matting will be publicly launched at Mt Martha Life Saving Club at 12.30pm Saturday 26 November (Melway 144 J11). Details: beachaccess.eventbrite.com.au

SCOTTISH soccer star Stuart Munro is appealing for the return of medals he won during a distinguished playing career in the UK. The Mt Eliza resident’s home was burgled recently and medals awarded to him during a successful seven-anda-half-year stint with Scottish giants Rangers were among the items stolen. “Although they are probably not worth much in gold value they hold great personal value for me,” Munro said. “There were a couple of Scottish championship medals, a couple of League Cup winner’s medals, all in small blue boxes, and a larger medal in a red velvet box which was a Champions’ Cup medal [for] when we beat Everton in Dubai in the mid80s.” Munro played as a semi-professional with St Mirren and Alloa in Scotland before joining Rangers as a full-time professional in February 1984. In July 1991 he transferred to Blackburn Rovers for a fee of around $600,000. He came to Australia in 1997 to take up a contract with Sydney-based Blacktown City and has also coached Australian National League sides Carlton, South Melbourne and Gippsland Falcons. Munro also coached Victorian Premier League sides Oakleigh Cannons and Dandenong Thunder and was named VPL Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2009. He became the inaugural senior coach of women’s club Southern United this year and recently returned to the men’s game as head coach of Dandenong City. Craig MacKenzie

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