‘Mr Suffolk’ honoured with Unsung Hero Award

13th April, 2021

It gives us great pleasure to announce that Suffolk’s Percy Rowe is the latest recipient of our Certificate of Merit, an award to celebrate the many unsung heroes that give so much to grassroots bowls.

Widely known as ‘Mr Suffolk’ and respected throughout the country, Percy was recognised for his dedication to administration and promotion of our sport, fulfilling roles such as Competition and Area Secretary for his county since 1990, as well as General Secretary and County Administrator until his retirement in December.

Check out the moment that Percy was notified that he was the latest recipient of our Certificate of Merit:


Percy was responsible for bowls’ representation at the Suffolk show for six years, introducing the sport to a new audience, as well as developing the county’s Under 16 and Under 18 Championships.

He played a key role in his county’s unification process and was a great competitor on the green too, representing his county more than 240 times. He was club captain on 14 occasions and served as a member of its management committee for 30 years.

Receiving his award virtually from our President Paul Robson, Percy said: “I’m absolutely lost for words I didn’t expect this at all – thank you very much.  I’ve been around all over the country and got to know a lot of people through bowls and have had a lot of enjoyment from the game. When I first became an officer 37 years ago, I thought it would be good to put something back into the game, but I didn’t expect to still be doing it in 2020.”

The Bowls England Certificate of Merit is awarded annually to individuals that have provided outstanding service to the sport of outdoor bowls at club and county level in England.  It recognises the work of volunteers to support the sport from Secretaries and Treasurers to Greenkeepers and Umpires.

John Ottaway, Men’s Secretary of the Norfolk Bowls Association, added: “Percy has been a stalwart of bowls administration in Suffolk for many years, carrying out a myriad of roles, many at the same time.  Since becoming secretary of the men’s section of the Norfolk Bowls Association, I have become more and more amazed at the work he undertakes.  The role of county secretary is a huge task and he has always been willing to let me tap into his vast knowledge and has offered advice, support and help whenever I have asked”

England international John Rednall, who has known Percy for over 40 years, paid reference to his memories of Percy’s playing and management days: “Percy was a stylish and highly respected skip in the Middleton Cup and I really enjoyed leading for him in the early 1980’s,” he said.

“Percy was very encouraging and a great motivator. In 1995, he led the Suffolk team to the final of the Middleton Cup. As underdogs, we defeated a very strong Kent team in the semi-final at Worthing, before losing a good battle with Cumbria in the afternoon.”

Percy’s wife Joanne also acknowledged the time her husband has committed to the sport over the years: “Myself and our two daughters, Amy and Kirsty, are extremely proud that Percy has been recognised with the Certificate of Merit. He has dedicated a lot of his life to the sport both as a player and as an officer holding various positions within the county, often multiple at the same time. He has worked tirelessly to promote the sport and encourage others. We, as a family, are very proud of all his achievements.”

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, with the deadline for nominations being 31 August annually.

Those who are awarded the Certificate of Merit are usually presented at a public gathering, for example their
Annual County Dinner, and no advance notice of the award is given to the recipient.

To view guidance notes for nomination and to download a nomination form, visit: https://www.bowlsengland.com/certificate-of-merit/


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