Bowls England is saddened to advise of the death of World and Commonwealth Games medallist, Mary Price, who passed away on Friday 5th May.
Mary will be remembered as a giant of the bowls community at club, county and international level. She made an immense contribution to our sport, not only because of her decorated playing career but through her dedication to the game over many years as an administrator, manager, selector and supporter of youth bowls.
Winning the national outdoor singles title in 1988 projected Mary to bowls stardom, and she became the first woman in England to win both the indoor and outdoor singles titles. She went on to win two more outdoor singles titles in 1996 and 1997, amongst a number of other national titles for her county, Buckinghamshire, and was a regular visitor to Leamington as the county’s Johns and Walker team manager.
On the international stage, Mary won five outdoor World Championships medals at consecutive Championships starting with a bronze medal in the Pairs and silver medal in the Fours in Auckland in 1988. Four years later in Ayr she won a Fours bronze and at the home 1996 World Outdoor Bowls Championship in Leamington Spa she won another Fours bronze medal. Her fifth and final medal arrived in Johannesburg in 2000 when she won a Pairs bronze with Jean Baker.
Her immense talent was evident at the Commonwealth Games where Mary gained the first of her three bronze medals in the Fours at the 1986 Games in Edinburgh alongside Barbara Fuller, Brenda Atherton and Magde Allen. In the pairs at the Auckland 1990 and Victoria 1994 she secured two more bronze medals together with Jayne Roylance and Brenda Atherton respectively.
Mary went on to manage the Bowls England women’s teams at a variety of major tournaments. She was an integral member of the management team for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester 2002, Melbourne 2006 and Delhi 2010. Mary was also team manager for the home World Bowls Championships in 2004, the New Zealand World Championships in 2008 and the Atlantic Championships in 2005, 2007 and 2009. Mary also served as a regional selector until her retirement in 2020.
Involving herself in the development of the game, she became a valued mentor to many as well as supporting the Junior Academy, Youth Squads and managing competitions at her beloved club. Her talent never wavered, winning the senior indoor pairs title just one month before her passing.
Mary embodied all the intrinsic values of our game, whether she was playing, volunteering, umpiring, or mentoring. She will always be remembered as a true advocate of bowls, always eager to give back and someone who will leave a lasting legacy on our sport.
On behalf of all of us at Bowls England, and the wider bowling community, our thoughts are with Mary’s family and friends at this time.