An Inspiring Night at the 2023 Awards

26th February, 2024

Athena, in Leicester, set the stage for a memorable evening at this year’s Bowls England Awards. 354 guests from across the bowls community attended the event, now in its third year, to commend the outstanding contributions of individuals within our sport.

From clubs to County Associations, volunteers to umpires, and many more, the dedication of these individuals was celebrated throughout the evening. It stood as a testament to their unwavering commitment and their pivotal roles in enriching our sport.

The evening commenced with a warm welcome as guests gathered in the Art Deco Lounge for a delightful drinks reception. They were also treated by a glowing performance by singer Heather Kirk as people took to their seats.

Host Howard Bentham started the night by introducing Bowls England Chief Executive, Jon Cockcroft, to the stage. Jon praised all volunteers across the sport while also highlighting the successes of 2023, including participation growth, commercial progress and the Aviva National Finals.

The presentation of awards kicked off with the Umpire of the Year. Steve Alway, a dedicated National Umpire in the EBUA, was the recipient from the line-up of outstanding shortlisted umpires.

The evening continued with a succession of accolades, including Coach of the Year awarded to Robin Yetman from Sussex, and Bowls Maker of the Year presented to Simon Lilley, a dedicated volunteer, who efficiently managed the competitions desk during the Aviva National Finals.


Bowls Maker of the Year winner – Simon Lilley


A poignant moment ensued with the recognition of the Greenkeeper of the Year as winner Mark Piper was delighted to discover that he would receive a tour of Dennis Mowers factory, who are proud sponsor of the award.

County of the Year was claimed by Somerset. They have embraced member recruitment, participating in Bowls’ Big Weekend and embedding Bowls Bash, contributing to the growth of new memberships throughout the county.

Host Howard then welcomed up Performance Director, Mo Monkton, who gave a flavour of what is to come on the international stage, and gave a rallying call for people to come along to Royal Victoria Park in Leamington Spa for the British Isles Series and Championships, to support the England team as they face the home nations.


Performance Director Mo Monkton on stage with host Howard Bentham at the 2023 Bowls England Awards.


Mo remained on stage to present the England Rising Star awards, recognizing promising talents within the sport. They went to Tom Holmes and Emily Kernick who both triumphed at the Aviva National Finals last summer.

Mo also presented the Male and Female Bowler of the Year awards which were handed to Ed Morris and Lorraine Kuhler. Both Ed and Lorraine enjoyed brilliant success on the international stage in 2023.


West Backwell BC – Diversity and Inclusion award winners.


The latter part of the evening witnessed the presentation of esteemed awards, including Diversity and Inclusion to inspiring club West Backwell and Unsung Hero to Gilly Meadows, rewarded for her 18-year commitment to Dursley Bowls Club.

The Team of the Year award saw Shanklin burst into celebration as they claimed the accolade. Their team have showcased years of dedication and an unwavering desire to succeed after they were victorious in the Men’s Club Two Fours and finalists in the Men’s Top Club in 2023.


Team of the Year winners Shanklin (Isle of Wight), delighted with their award.


Presented by Bowls England Chair, David Tucker, and 2024 President David King-Taylor, Devon-based Ilfracombe were winners of the Club of the Year. Their winners speech reflected on their remarkable turnaround from potential closure to thriving success.

The proceedings culminated with the announcement of Certificate of Merit recipients. The prestigious accolade went to Malcolm Grimwood, Kay Kerley, Roy Rogers, Lindsay Collin and John Ottaway. The five were recognised for giving a lifetime of support to bowls and always striving to go above and beyond the call of duty.

Entertainment was provided by the band The Indianas as award winners and nominees celebrated into the night.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our sponsors, Aviva, Riviera Travel, Dennis Mowers & SISIS and Aceit for their support.


We greatly enjoyed Saturday night, of course. We still can’t believe our win. A super evening.West Backwell BC


A wonderful evening and hopefully we will have a successful 2024 and be back next year.Potton End BC


All bowls clubs should be a part of this impressive occasion… amazing!Ilfracombe BC


Photos from the event will be available shortly.

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