Bedfordshire’s Bob Hirst is the latest recipient of the prestigious Bowls England Certificate of Merit, presented by Bowls England Senior Vice President Paul Robson, at the recent Bowls Bedfordshire County Luncheon.
Bowls England awards the Certificate of Merit annually to individuals that have provided outstanding service to the sport of outdoor bowls at club and county level in England.
Bob has given outstanding service to his Club and County for over 50 years.
Since joining Henlow Park BC in 1969, Bob has held most posts at some time, including Treasurer (1972-1993), Greenkeeper (1976-1993, 1996-2016) and Captain (1980-1993). Bob is now ‘Green Manager’ at the Club, teaching others the skills of green management.
Bob was League Secretary of the East Beds and District Bowls League for over a decade (1982-1993), as well as holding other positions such as its President in 1990 and Treasurer (1998, 2009-10).
At County level, Bob was Bedfordshire’s Delegate to the English Bowling Association from 2002 until 2006, as well as being President in 2008 and again during the County’s Centenary year in 2010. As Competitions Administrator for more than a decade (2008-2019), Bob was very highly respected for his fairness and administrative skills.
In 2016, Bob was President of the Eastern Counties Bowling Association.
“This award was the biggest surprise of my life,” Hirst said following the announcement.
“I was sitting at the Bowls Bedfordshire Luncheon enjoying a chilled Budweiser listening to Paul Robson when he started talking about the Certificate of Merit. The more he said, the more I thought it sounded just like me!
“You could have knocked me over with a feather when I realised it was me that he was talking about – it was unbelievable but fantastic.
“I have to say that all of the jobs I have carried out over the years for my Club and County I would willingly do all over again. I did these jobs because I wanted to do them, and thoroughly enjoyed doing them.
“Sadly, my competitive bowling career is coming to an end, but I can still put up the odd good wood when called upon, so I am not completely written off yet!
“I have made some fantastic friends through bowls, and I will always have wonderful memories. This award is the icing on the cake of my career for me. I will wear the badge with pride and honour.
“Thank you for making my journey through bowls complete”
Bowls England introduced the Certificate of Merit to recognise the work of volunteers to support the sport at Club and County level – from Secretaries and Treasurers to Greenkeepers and Umpires.
The award is open to anyone who is involved with a club, county, organisation or association affiliated to Bowls England, except for those who have already received Life Membership or Honorary Membership of Bowls England.
For more information on the Certificate of Merit, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.