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Obituary: Nancie Colling MBE (Somerset)

3rd July, 2020 by Matt Wordingham

Bowls England is saddened to learn of the passing of Nancie Colling MBE, former President of the International Women’s Bowling Board (1996) and the English Women’s Bowling Association (1976), at the age of 101

Nancie was an Honorary Member of Bowls England and was respected across the world of bowls for her many dedicated years of service to the sport. Nancie started her bowls career in Frome in 1948 and was Secretary of the Frome Selwood Club for three years and competitions secretary to the Somerset Ladies Bowling Association for ten years.  Her reign over the English Women’s Bowling Association started in 1978 when she became Assistant Secretary and took office as Secretary two years later where she remained in that office until 2002.  Nancie’s career as an administrator was a highly distinguished one based on a thorough knowledge of the sport which she played at the highest level. She was a tireless champion of womens sport throughout the World and did much to further the cause.

Nancie won the first of her three National Singles titles in 1956, an achievement that she replicated on two further occasions together with winning the two wood title in 1965.  Her international career started in 1957 and finished in 1978.  She won two outdoor World Championship medals in the 1973 World Championships in Wellington, New Zealand.

Nancie’s lifetime of dedicated service to bowls was recognised by Her Majesty the Queen who in 1996 bestowed on her the rank of Member of the British Empire and six years later she was presented with the Torch Trophy Trust Award, an honour that was awarded annually by the Central Council of Physical Recreation to leading sports volunteers.  The award was presented at Old Trafford during the Commonwealth Games in Manchester by Sir Bobby Charlton, a moment she treasured and shared with many she spoke to.

In her later life, Nancie retired to Devon and spent her final years in the coastal town of Seaton where on the 19th April 2019 – Primrose Day – she celebrated her 100th birthday.  She continued her interest in bowls and particularly during the National Championships would regularly contact the Tournament Office to find out results.

Nancie has been a wonderful asset to bowls the likes of which we may never see again.

No funeral details are yet available but it is expected that due to the current Covid-19 pandemic it will be restricted to immediate family only.

Bowls England sends it condolences to Nancie’s family and friends.  Her service to the sport will not be forgotten and she will be missed by many.

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