Wheelchair basketball players from Aberdeen are eyeing elite equipment to help them play at a national level

The Grampian Flyers during a team practice. Picture by Jim Irvine.

An Aberdeen basketball team has launched a fundraising drive to buy three special wheelchairs in the hope of competing at a national level.

The Grampian Flyers squad hopes to raise £11,000 to buy three elite wheelchairs, each of which is tailor-made to a player’s needs.

Last season the side finished top of the SBC Wheelchair Basketball League – winning seven of their eight matches against established teams from across Scotland.

While the team is regularly supported by sponsors, Flyers coach Grant Wilson has admitted they are struggling to find the finances for the new chairs.

He said: “We’re looking to raise money to purchase three elite sports chairs but because they are so special and such high-level equipment it’s really difficult to find grants.

“We don’t qualify for many schemes due to the age or nature of the chair.

“These would allow the athletes to compete at a higher level than they are now.

“We have a massive youth section and lots of development chairs and now we want to help our players purchase these special ones.”

At the club’s outset in 2013, Grampian Flyers had just three members with some rusty, borrowed chairs to their names.

Since then the team has grown hugely, and several players have gone on to represent Scotland at the junior, under-23 and senior levels of the sport.

The side welcomes men and women of all ages, and trains weekly at Aberdeen’s Beach Leisure Centre.

“It’s a hugely positive thing, and not just in the obvious ways with improving physical fitness and strength,” Mr Wilson added.

“By working with other athletes with disabilities it increases their confidence and social skills.

“It also helps them develop a support network where they can talk to people in similar situations to them. It gives them a really close social circle.”

Mr Wilson said: “We want to reach that next stage where we can take our team to a performance level and showcase how well we have been doing in Aberdeen in matches across Britain.”

Anyone able to donate time or money to the Flyers, or point them in the direction of a sports grant scheme, is asked to contact Grant Wilson by emailing grantus70@gmail.com.