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Below are the list of nominees which have been shortlisted for the Unsung Hero award at the Bowls England Awards 2023.

Bob Morton (Parkway BC, Huntingdonshire)

Bob has managed the Huntingdonshire Middleton Cup team for over two decades with remarkable success. In the previous season, under his leadership, the team reached the last four at Leamington. It was an achievement made even more noteworthy as it occurred without one of their top players, Nick Brett, who was representing England in the World Championships. What sets Bob apart is his dedication to promoting young bowlers – the team he led included a 13-year-old and several players under 25. 

Bob’s influence extends beyond managerial roles. His sons, Ean and Tristan, have achieved recognition at Leamington and for England, a testament not only to their talent but also to Bob’s guidance during their junior years. In addition to managing the county Middleton Cup team, Bob serves as the county competition results secretary for both Men’s and Ladies’ competitions, along with the Men’s Balcomb and U25 teams. 

He actively oversees operations at Parkway BC, serving as the manager for their league team and competition teams, including the Top Club and Club Two Fours. Bob also takes on the role of Green Keeper and maintenance man for Parkway Bowls Club, showcasing his commitment for more than two decades. 

What distinguishes Bob is not just his commitment to current players, but also his remembrance of past contributors to the sport. Last season, he organized county trials between his Middleton Cup squad and Huntingdonshire & Northamptonshire federation county teams, leading to the creation of two shields named after recently passed bowlers from the involved counties. 

Gilly Meadows (Dursley BC, Gloucestershire)

Gilly has been a stalwart of the club’s committee for an impressive 18 years. Gilly’s dedication and vast knowledge of club and county lifecycle have played a pivotal role in shaping the success and vibrancy of Dursley BC. Currently serving as Club Secretary, Ladies’ Captain, Fixture Secretary, Men’s and Ladies’ County and League delegate, Safeguarding Officer, Level Two coach, Fundraising Officer, Grants and PR Officer, Ladies’ Selector, and administrator of various club platforms, Gilly’s involvement spans a multitude of crucial roles. 

Her organizational skills are astonishing, evident in the creation of a regular Event Log document and various templates that aid committee members in managing tasks efficiently. Gilly’s project management skills, coupled with her detailed knowledge of club operations, constitution, and CASC compliance, ensure the club’s compliance. 

Beyond her administrative prowess, Gilly is an avid fundraiser and networker, securing significant donations through her motto, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” Her efforts have resulted in grants exceeding £38,000, funding vital club projects. Gilly also gets involved in maintenance projects such as hand-painting the wood treatment onto a new pavilion. 

Gilly’s passion extends to coaching, reaching Level Two under the Coach Bowls scheme. She coaches up to county level and actively contributes to the County Youth Development squad training. Gilly is a talented player, reaching the 2022 Ladies’ Pairs National Finals and participating in various county championships. 

Gilly’s skills in photography and graphic design enhances Dursley’s image. 

Her impact goes beyond the sport, emphasizing mental well-being, reducing isolation, and championing social events. Gilly’s infectious enthusiasm and thorough planning of Dursley’s open days and fun events bring in new members and raising awareness of the club. 

As Dursley Bowls Club approaches its 75th anniversary in 2024, Gilly is already planning exciting events. Her dedication to inclusivity, knowledge-sharing, and tireless efforts to secure resources for the club, including an electric wheelchair, is exemplary. 

Kevin Mawson (Kingsthorpe BC, Northamptonshire)

Kevin, a dedicated member of Kingsthorpe BC’s Green Keeping team, devised and executed an innovative project to address the challenges posed by changing weather patterns, aiming to secure our outdoor greens against drought while reducing irrigation costs. Given the expectation of warmer, drier summers, the installation of rainwater storage containers, known as bulk containers, became crucial for sustainable water management. 

Kevin’s methodical planning involved placing 12 bulk containers, each with a 1000-litre capacity, behind an existing large storage tank, creating a combined total capacity of 17,000 litres. These containers were strategically linked to the mains water supply and the current irrigation system. The collected rainwater, filtered from the building’s roof, filled the containers with excess water diverted back to a downpipe through a high-level float switch. 

The initiative not only alleviated the strain on the mains water supply but also significantly reduced irrigation costs. The innovative setup allowed the green to be watered four times before tapping into the paid-for mains water. Kevin’s meticulousness ensures proper maintenance and monitoring of the storage containers, reinforcing the club’s commitment to sustainability. 

Kevin’s leadership and hands-on approach from the start of the project to completion showcased his dedication. He organized a team to move the 65-kilo bulk containers, addressing logistical challenges by lifting them over a fence! Despite occasional challenges, such as a humorous scenario of Kevin needing assistance to exit a large storage tank, the project’s success is evident. The club website captures the different stages of the installation process. 

Kevin’s achievement not only saved the club money but also attracted attention from another outdoor club seeking his expertise for a similar installation. 

Matt Hamilton (Ilminster BC, Somerset)

Matt, the Outdoor Chairman at Ilminster BC, stands out as a forward-thinking and dedicated individual committed to the club’s growth and community engagement. His strategic initiatives have significantly contributed to the club’s expansion and enhanced relationships. 

Matt’s proactive approach to membership growth is evident through the organisation of three annual outdoor open days and active participation in the 2023 Bowls’ Big Weekend event. Since May 2023, the club has welcomed 35 new members, achieving a remarkable 20% increase in women’s membership. Matt’s inclusive strategy extends to offering taster sessions with a 20% discount, promoting an open and welcoming environment for potential members. 

Beyond membership initiatives, Matt plays a pivotal role in monthly fundraisers, demonstrating the club’s commitment to supporting various causes and charities. This not only strengthens community ties within Ilminster but also showcases the club’s dedication to social responsibility. 

Matt’s outreach extends beyond Ilminster, as he generously aids neighbouring clubs in Taunton and Chard. Ilminster serves as a hub for seminars on topics like social media, benefiting local clubs by enhancing their outreach capabilities. 

Matt has been instrumental in transforming Ilminster’s social media and website presence. Recognizing the importance of these platforms for engaging both current and potential members, he has tirelessly worked on the club’s social media presence. Ilminster now boasts over 1000 Instagram followers, a testament to Matt’s efforts in attracting a younger audience. The club’s website serves as a comprehensive resource, effectively promoting programs and events to reach residents in local villages. 

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