In recognition of exceptional services to our sport or to Bowls England, our Board may award life membership to an individual. This award is the highest honour the Bowls England bestows to those who have dedicated so much for our sport. Listed in order of receipt:

Our Life Members

David Mitchell-Gears MBE


A successful bowls player since 1965, David was pivotal in the formation of Bowls England when the English Bowling Association and English Women’s Bowling Association amalgamated.  David was chair of Bowls England from its inception in 2008 until he retired in 2019.  In addition to his extensive contribution at national level, David also continued to play an active role at his club, Clacton BC, and support his County Association, Essex. He was awarded an MBE for services to the sport of lawn bowls in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2014.

Howard Pryse


Howard, from Swindon BC, made 88 Middleton Cup appearances for his county Wiltshire. His performances earnt him international trials but it was as off the green that he would make an impact on the sport.  Howard served in many roles, most notably as County Secretary and one of the pioneers of the Wiltshire Bowls Joint Council in 1998. Nationally as Finance Director of Bowls England, since its formation in 2008 until his retirement in 2017, he led the Working Party that negotiated the very successful move to Royal Leamington Spa.

Norma Hazzledine MBE


Former International, Norma, played a pivotal role in the 1996 Women’s World Bowls Championships before taking on the role of Competition Manager for the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002.  In 2009, she joined the Bowls England Board as Director of International Events where she oversaw three Commonwealth Games’ cycles.  Since her retirement from the Board in 2018, Norma continues to make outstanding contributions to the sport in both her local club and county. Norma was awarded an MBE for services to sport of lawn bowls in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Jeff Applegate


Buckinghamshire bowler Jeff Applegate dedicated numerous years to our sport.  He was central to the unification of Bowls in his County of Buckinghamshire.  As a former County Administrator, he was involved locally at both club and county level, before joining the Bowls England Board, as Director of Operational Services, in 2008.  Following his retirement in 2018 Jeff continued to contribute to both our sport and Bowls England wherever he could.

John Bell


A great ambassador for our sport around the world, former lawn bowls ace John has contributed in numerous way to our sport.  On the Green John has four Gold World Outdoor Championship medals, and three Gold British Isles championship medals to his name. Away from the green, the former bowls commentator, was appointed Lawn Bowls Performance Director for the Commonwealth Games in 2006 and continued in this position until his retirement in 2018. In addition, John served as President of World Bowls from 2012 until 2021.

Tony Allcock OBE


As one of the most respected Lawn Bowls ‘Sporting Greats’, Tony is the most decorated lawn bowls player in the world.  After retiring from international play, he was appointed Lawn Bowls Performance Director for the Commonwealth Games in 2002.  A year later, Tony took on the position of Chief Executive at the English Bowls Association and started the process of unification of both the Men’s and Women’s National Governing Bodies.  In 2013, Tony made a great contribution to the negotiations with Warwick District Council during Bowls England’s relocation to Royal Leamington Spa.  Tony was awarded an OBE for services to lawn bowls in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

John Durston


Having been involved in General Administration of bowls for an astounding fifty years, John has shown exceptional commitment in each of his roles across club, county and national level. He served as Secretary and Chairman, both for ten years, and had the honour of being president of Somerset Bowls Association in 1986. Adding to his county duties, John engaged in multiple roles for English Bowling Association and Bowls England which included thirteen years as Chair of the Disciplinary Committee. In this role overseeing Bowls England’s disciplinary work, his attention to detail and desire to see natural justice has been instrumental in positively resolving a whole array of issues.

Honorary Membership

All former Honorary Life Members and Past Presidents of the English Bowling Association and the English Women’s Bowling Association are recognised as Honorary Members of Bowls England.

Listed in alphabetical order:

Tony Allcock OBE

Margaret Ashford-Hull

Brenda Atherton

John Austin

John Bell

Marion Bushnell

John Canham

Jessie Clark

Ken Court

Margaret Docherty

Roma Hanger

Norma Hazzledine

Allan Higgins

Arthur Hockley

Ruth Howes

Bob Jack MBE

Pat Janes

David Johnson

Kay Kerley

Wayne Manley

Brenda Morley

Ian Morrill

Pat Ostler

Roy Peacock

John Smerdon

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