The expert panel for the awards night met on 15th of December to conclude their shortlist of nominees and we are delighted to announce the shortlist.

We received circa 150 nominations, which made for exceedingly good reading. There were so many wonderful stories from our Bowls Community and it was so inspiring to read all the stories of the good work being achieved in our sport.

Over the next few weeks, we will be doing various communications over our social media channels and in our newsletters celebrating our shortlisted candidates.

The Story of the Year and the Unsung Hero awards, will be decided by an online vote that will open week commencing 10th January.

For Certificate of Merit, there are just two winners that will be announced on the evening.

The night promises to be a glittering evening celebrating the great contribution made by counties, clubs, umpires, players and volunteers in the sport and a memorable social occasion with amazing food, live music and of course great company.

Thank you to everyone who nominated and congratulations to our shortlisted candidates.

We look forward to welcoming you on the night.

Please find below the shortlist:

County of the Year – The Nominees

This award is for the County Association that has done the most outstanding work across all areas of management, competition success and new initiatives.

Devon

Another stellar year for Devon, who continue to churn out the results and produce the current and future stars of the game. The county continues to set standards in promoting excellent e-media platforms whilst retain an oversight role for the local clubs. A strong youth program is underpinned with six High Performance Squad members. This is all supported by a high level of consistency at championship and inter county level, which reinforces the well-deserved reputation of Devon.

Durham

In spite of the challenges of the pandemic Durham continues to register higher numbers of playing participants across the county, a significant achievement for both the retention and growth plans during this challenging period. The county continues to deploy social media to connect with local clubs and remains the focal point to build and support the game. A keen participant with Bowls England the county is continually seeking to encourage development programmes.

Essex

The county enjoyed a solid results outcome for the year with both Championship and Competition winners. Ed Morris has joined the Performance Squad as the county continues to build on its player base and provide increasing options for the national squad. Committed to player development and with a strong connection to the local clubs Essex remains a popular vibrant bowls hub.

Kent

Success at both the county and inter-county level as well as positive results as Competition winners Kent enjoys great support from the local clubs. An advocate of the development programs the county has provided Sian Honnor as a member of the Performance Squad. A county that is increasingly aware of the use of the various social media platforms to provide regular information about all aspects of the game to players and supporters across the county.

Somerset

Supporting development programs and enjoying excellent playing membership the county continues to support a great environment to grow and play the game. Popular with the club scene the county provides a great information source and along with other counties recognises the value of social media. An active youth programme points towards a strong future for both the club and county.

Club of the Year sponsored by Sutton Winson– The Nominees

Similar to the County Award, this will celebrate a club that has achieved success across all areas of club management and new initiatives.

Bristol St Andrews BC, Gloucestershire

Bristol St Andrews, is a club that has without question enjoyed a renaissance over the last few years. The club was a sucessful venue in the 1980’s however as membership fell away, the club found itself in a tough financial position. The only option left, it seemed was to sell the club and close the bowling facilities. But the resilence of a few diehard members chose not to take the easy path and through their determination the club now looks forward to a bright future. The installation of new floodlights and the creation of a new “Floodlight League”  generated interest and increased particpation. Over the past year, the club’s membership has grown by 20%, with female membership increasing by 100%.

Bristol St Andrews is clearly a vibrant club that is providing a genuine connection for both members and the community.

Darlington South Park BC, Durham

Darlington South Park BC is a club committed to changing the culture in bowls, by adopting new game formats such as Killer Bowls. They can also be proud of their growing membership and their inclusive approach to the sport. Ken Bousfield, Coach of the Year 2021, has been taking new bowlers and hosting weekly sessions to increase partcipation. The reality of increasing involvement is not rocket science, it is building relationships with the local community. In addition to breaking down socail barriers, the club have also liaised with the Alzheimers Associations, Age UK and Darlington Borough Council. A key membership target for 2021 was achieved by securing 125 members to coincide with the club’s 125th Anniversay. The club continues to enjoy on green sucess; 2020 Bowls England Story of the Year Winner Scott Morland and Northern Counties Champions 3rd time in 125 years. The club had its first U-25 Ladies Champions (a team consisting of a 12-year old and a 15-year old).

Essex County BC, Essex

Essex County BC  has 459 active members, and has retained the County Shield and County Championships. In 2021, the club were able to recruit 155 new members in total – 69 played during the Summer, under the backdrop of a challenging year with Covid-19. Throughout the community, the club have promoted bowls at local schools, including a number of school groups coming onsite. The club has invested in equipment for this programme to encourage future participation. They continue to promote innovative approaches to building club memberships with support for annual fees and equipment. The Club has adopted the nickname, “The Imperials,” seeking to modernise their image with new shirts and logos, designed to specifically appeal to the younger generation. The Cadet section, has doubled in recent years through continued efforts at local schools. These combined initiative point towards building momentum for developing and encouraging youngsters who will no doubt be the future stars of the sport.

Kingswood and Hanham BC, Gloucestershire

The Big Bowls Weekend, was a focal point of Kingswood and Hanham BC which attracted over 60 people all of whom enjoyed introductory fun sessions and preliminary coaching over the two day event, and the weather was just marvellous. BBC Points West covered the event providing TV reports over several subsequent days. The club recruited 19 ladies and 15 men; the majority of whom are under the age of 60, which is fantastic for the future of the club. Six weeks of coaching sessions with the club’s two Coach Bowls coaches ensured that many of these members progressed quickly. The other highlight of 2021 was the club’s success, with a number of their experienced members representing the County at the National Finals in Leamington. The season culminated with the club competitions finals weekend, a fantastic weekend of bowls which saw many of the club’s new bowlers competing in a thrilling Novice Cup, displaying their new-found skills.

The local council could no longer support the funding of the green, they approached the club with an idea that the green would need to close, the club immediately assumed the responsibility from the council and the club feels this places them on a solid footing going forward.

Congratulations to Kingwood and Hanham for an incredible 2021!

Lyndhurst BC, Durham

Lyndhurst BC continue to develop the sport of bowls at grassroots level and is a designated Community Amateur Sports Club with an open door invitation to anyone to join. The club have had success on the playing side in the Ladies County Double rinks Championship and were also the Men Tens League Winners, a first for the Club. Coaching is impertive to support and encourage new members to build skills and match competence and the club are always looking to improve how they teach, encourage and promote the game. They have also made improvements to the club’s playing surfaces, as well as the club’s facilties which has helped increase membership.

Lyndhusrt BC is looking forward to a successful future!

New Herrington Colliery, Durham

The growth in membership at New Herrington Welfare BC is the stand out achievement of 2021. From the low point of 12, the club have grown to a very healthy 39 (300% increase) with a positive trend. This is achieved with the commitment of a dedicated secretary, treasurer and captain. Participating in 4 leagues sucess always provides a spur to the competitive spirit so when 18 novice bowlers secured runners up in the Earls Cup, members felt galvanised and committed. The club acknowledges the support from Bowls England and Sunderland City Council that has provided a steer towards a strong more vibrate future.  Members describe the club recent past as ‘the phoenix from the ashes’.

Team of the Year – The Nominees

This award recognises the team that has performed admirably on the green over the past 12 month, at national, county or club level. That could be a team of any size, from Pairs all the way up to a Middleton or Johns.

Banbury Central Tony Allock, Oxfordshire

Banbury Central repeated their 2018 success, winning the Tony Allcock Trophy in 2021 at Leamington. This result is part of a proud record of only a single loss in four years which includes the COVID effected 2020 season. The success of 2021 was a challenge with many hard-fought, tight games decided on the extra end. The team (with five of the original 2018 nine) enjoyed a more comfortable passage to the Final, which was a nail-biting affair at Leamington, fought out in a competitive spirit against Bromley. The score was level but Banbury coped best with the final end to win 28-27.

A fabulous achievement for this group!

East Leake Senior Fours, Nottinghamshire

This Senior Fours team can now add county champions & national finalists to their list of achievements and successes. A newly formed team, the group entered and won the county competition, thus qualifying for the National Finals, which would have been a significant achievement for any season. The team gelled well, covering each other, playing to their strengths and supporting their teammates. Any progress beyond the first round at the Finals would be a measure of success, but then the wins kept coming, eventually reaching the final versus Durham, David versus Goliath. Unfortunately, that’s where the dream ended, with Durham proving a step too far, but what a three days for this team! Let’s hope they can take the next step in 2022.

Somerset Amy Rose, Somerset

The Amy Rose Team’s progression to the finals was achieved against strong competition with a nail-biting match against Norfolk in the Semi- Final. The team went onto face Hertfordshire in the final to secure victory. The team recognise, that winning this national title was achieved by high quality bowling and an impressive level of consistency. The group is a real credit to themselves and their county. The quality and skill of the opposition made the win something that all the team members recognise as a truly memorable achievement. The team describe themselves as a ‘passionate’ and ‘supportive’ group, young bowlers who represent the future of the sport.

Katie Sturtridge and Michelle Moore, Cornwall

These sisters play with both skill and competence, and as a team they identify and brilliantly complement each other. They regularly reach the National Finals individually, with Katie competing in five different games at Leamington last year. However, as a team, they are a true force to be reckoned with. They secured victory at the Cornwall County Pairs Final, which is without question the highlight of a challenging year for them both. Additionally, they achieved a place at the National Finals underlining a successful year for them both. Throughout their bowls journey, the sisters have always recognised the incredible sacrifices others have made to their success. Their extended family travels across the county to support them, as they pursue their goals in the game.

They are a formidable partnership!

Surrey Ladies Triples, Surrey

Milford is a small Surrey club, and this team have represented their county with real pride. The team made steady progress through their local county heats which booked them a place in the National Finals. They ventured to Leamington to face a tough draw and negotiated through both quarter and semi-finals securing a place in the final- a fantastic achievement. However, the final proved one step too far- they lost 9-22 to formidable opposition.

This team are an inspiration to us all and a reminder that bowls is a sport for everyone, played equally, with great pride, the county made this nomination as a form of recognition of their efforts, endeavours, and success.

Greenkeeper of the Year sponsored by Dennis Mowers – The Nominees

This prize will be awarded to a greenkeeper at a club who has done outstanding work on their green which has helped increase participation.

David Robertson-Hexham Elvaston BC, Northumberland

When David assumed responsibility as the greenkeeper four years ago, the green was in a perilous state. A serious moss problem, coupled with general poor condition, reflected badly on the club. David, who turns 80 in 2022, has worked tirelessly to breathe new life into the green. His commitment has been outstanding, irrespective of weather or the time of day, or the restrictions created by COVID. Working in conjunction with the club, a new irrigation system was installed. The green now enjoys a regime of maintenance and care that has produced a “majestic” surface.

Hexham recognises David’s dedication, despite suffering a number of personal difficulties over the past year including health problems that have affected both David and his wife.

Glyn Lyford-West Hoathly BC, Northumberland

West Hoathly BC traditionally enjoyed a quality surface for play, and it has been a major disappointment for the members to experience the deterioration of the surface, during the last few years. Glyn assumed responsibility and quickly set to work creating a rigorous regime to rectify the poor condition of the green. The green was frankly unplayable and like most clubs the members take enormous pride in the look and condition of the green. Glyn has now produced a surface which has returned to its original condition and has become a pleasure to play. It is recognised amongst the county bowls fraternity as one of the best greens in West Sussex.

Mark Piper- Maldon BC, Essex

The green at Maldon BC was previously maintained by the local council. A specialist surface like a bowls green requires specialist maintenance and cannot sustain a suitable level for play if it is treated like parkland grass. As a consequence, the bowls green deteriorated; infestation of moss, excessive thatch and various surface diseases all contributed to a green that was almost unplayable. The pandemic and a winter season made a bad situation even worse, creating a playing surface that was uneven, with bare patches and a green that did not run true. At the beginning of 2021, the club assumed a lease to maintain the green from the Council.

Mark, a quiet unassuming person, with a team of volunteers, took on the responsibility and immediately set to work on addressing the moss, thatch and weed issues. His endeavours are a balance of expertise, commitment and dedication that should be recognised as the benchmark of a bowls player and the sport he represents.

Martin Tibbs- Chew Stoke BC, Somerset

Martin Tibbs is an example of a dedicated self-taught member who assumed the role to manage the green at Chew Stoke. Bowls greens need to present a surface that is not only visually pleasing but offers a playing area that runs well, providing a challenge to all players, which ensures that their skill can be reflected in a match. Martin has a true understanding how to translate knowledge and expertise into the preparation and delivery of a superb green. Martin has provided Chew Stoke with a surface that is the envy of other clubs in the county. This has been achieved with devotion to the sport, the club and the green which is only matched by his passion for the game!

Philip Jefferey Wright-Earls Barton BC, Northamptonshire

Philip Wright volunteered to take on the role of Greenkeeper at Earls Barton Bowls Club in late 2020, replacing a professional Greenkeeper who cost the club approximately £7,000 pa. At this point the green was graded B by the County, with a number of bald patches and corners damaged by scarifying.

Philip secured technical qualifications, sought funding from the club and whilst he did not enjoy universal support his persistence and persuasive manner eventually resulted in necessary support from the club to adopt a new regime and purchase the necessary equipment. Bowls Northamptonshire inspect the green at the end of June 2021, the county returned an ‘A’ grade.

Ted Jameson- Jarrow West BC, Durham

In 2018 the three clubs in the park formed an association to take on the responsibility of maintaining the greens. South Tyneside Council was relinquishing their programme which involved cutting the greens twice a week during the season and carrying out an end of season program of scarifying, hollow tinning and top dressing every three years. Ted had some experience in maintaining grass, he devised a program to improve the greens through regular maintenance, cutting, scarifying, watering, weed, feed and moss killer, as the greens had suffered from a progressive moss problem.

The results of these efforts and dedication have provided the club with greens that are considered to be the best in the 40-year history of the club. Ted and his ‘wing-man’ Ronnie are not youngsters – they are both retired and have health problems which demonstrates the dedication and love they have for this club and our great sport.

Coach of the Year – The Nominees

Celebrating the best of the coaching community in England, this gong will honour the outstanding coach of the past 12 months, inspiring all participants.

Gilly Ainsley- Unity Park BC/ Plymouth Life Centre, Devon

As the Coach Coordinator for Devon, Gilly provides advice and coaching support for clubs across the County, helping them to increase their membership and coaching skills. She has worked tiredlessly to encourage and develop individuals to enjoy bowls often to the detriment of her own bowling time. With the development of a recognised coaching programme through the Bowls Development Alliance & then Coach Bowls, Gilly became a course Trainer/Tutor and Assessor for bowlers undertaking the Level 1 and Level 2 coaching courses.

Over the past two years, Gilly has been involved in introducing a county wide junior development programme providing season-long coaching/training sessions for young bowlers. This programme which targets young bowlers is a pathway to encourage the County to establish competition formats for Juniors Under 25’s.

Howard Jones- Newport Pagnell BC, Buckinghamshire

The Academy blueprint hatched by Howard was expanded during COVID, in conjunction with the County Development Officer. This was a pilot project that was established with the North Bucks Regional Academy (NBRA). The rewards of this were reaped in both 2020 and 2021. During the 2021 season, Howard trialled a system of measured skills’ practices and analysed individual performance. NPBC Academy and NBRA members have held the County U14 and U18 titles for the past 2 years. In addition, several Academy members have successfully progressed to the County Men’s U25 and Ladies’ U31 squads.

The success of the NBRA, running alongside the NPBC Academy, has resulted in plans to extend the model to the central and southern regions of the county.

It is surely no coincidence that the club had its most successful season in living memory.

June White- Thurlton BC, Suffolk

June has for 30 years run a Saturday morning junior section in addition to running a regular after school club for the village’s primary school. Alongside this, she offers a two hour coaching session and roll up on a Monday and Friday afternoon for all members. In addition she makes herself available for one-to-one coaching whenever anybody requests it.

She invites any new members into the club whether just to have a go, join for social events or play in competitions. June has always been very interested in ensuring bowls welcomes young bowlers into the community and she offers coaching for all ages. June recently welcomed and offered coaching for our youngest member, a 5-year-old, and she is always looking for ways to make the game fun, accessible and engaging.

She has adopted effective techniques like using shorter Jack lengths and a range of fun games whilst maintaining the competitive spirit. She travels around the county to offer support to our members including this year travelling to Leamington Spa to watch the Suffolk Junior Pairs who she also coaches.

Ken Bousfield- Darlington South Park BC, Durham

Ken has coached bowlers of all ages and abilities, using our club aids under the banner of Inclusion bowls. From the initial enquiry to becoming a member, the club has gained 40/50 members during the last two years of Ken’s coaching. More than 50% of these new members have joined as a direct result of their experience, and the enjoyment and kindness shown by Ken. He was a pivotal person in the Bowls’ Big Weekend success and our ‘inclusive month’ of bowls which included two children’s days, and involved Darlington partnering with another bowls club. Finally, Ken was also crowed winner of Coach Bowls, Coach of the Year 2021.

An incredible 2021 for the Ken!

Story of the Year sponsored by Bowls International – The Nominees

A staple of the Bowls England calendar, this accolade celebrates an incredible marketing initiative at club or county level which has led to a growth in participation, or has increased exposure for the sport.

Barrie De Suys - Addlestone Victory Park BC, Surrey

‘Many locals consider him the Addlestone’s very own Captain Tom’

Barrie de Suys retired from playing outdoor bowls in 2016, at 87 Barrie’s medical records include heart attacks, debilitating arthritis, a hip replacement and heart surgery.  Yet despite this Barrie’s willingness to serve his local community remained strong and he has managed to inspire new members, of all ages, to experience the enjoyment of Lawn Bowls at his club Addlestone Victory Park.  From just 5 member at the start of the 2021 season, to at least forty by its close, Barrie provides inspiration of other council clubs. During 2020, the local council began moves to end the clubs subsidy – which looked like the end of the road for Addlestone Victory.

Not with Barrie around! In 2020 he took it upon himself to draw people into the park and the green by walking around its 965 metre perimeter to raise money for the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People). He completed this route an astonishing 2,400 times and raised an amazing five-figure sum. This was in spite of suffering heat stroke and several stumbles along the way.  In total he covered 1,440 miles which is further than Lands’ End to John O’Groats. Barrie gained attention from local residents, drawing people into the park to watch his efforts which in turn created an interest in bowls.

Barrie then turned his attention to the club, he single-handedly painted the Boards surrounding the green, gardened around the green every day, umpired when called on and started coaching a new adults with learning difficulties bowls group –which he had set up himself. The club invested all of its remaining funds in recruitment. Signing up for Bowls England’s ‘Bowls Big Weekend’ saw 25 new members sign up on the day. Barrie, now nicknamed the ‘Duracell Bunny’, reputation in the local community grew and park-goers were drawn into the Club to see him – people joined up because of his local reputation!

Encouraged by other members and despite his various ailments, Barrie started to play the game again with the aid of a mechanical arm. It took a significant physical and technical effort as Barrie had to relearn his stroke, but he overcame adversity. For new bowlers and weaker bowlers in the Club, giving up was not an option. If Barrie could play, so could they. His spirit and encouragement kept them playing.

The nomination form for Barrie opened with: ‘Let us tell you of the wonderful story of Barrie de Suys and the revival of a bowls club’.

Peter Jones - Bristol St Andrew's BC, Gloucestershire

‘Bowls is a great spectacle under lights’

Peter Jones has been the main driving force behind most, if not all, the changes at Bristol St. Andrews BC over the last 11 years.

His main success came in the form of new club floodlights. It was Peter’s idea and he subsequently obtained quotes and researched the various finance and grant applications. Peter managed to obtain £27,000 in grants from Sport England, and then alongside a team of members, he dug the installation sites for the lights and for the trench cabling.  This was a major undertaking, but it saved the club over £5,000 in labouring costs.

Never a man to rest on his laurels, Peter started work on establishing a new league for then Covid related restrictions eased, one that could be played utilising the new floodlights.

Scheduling, participants and the various local authority restrictions all had to be consider and overcome.  Once ‘go ahead’ was secured, Peter sent out invitations to all the Bristol Clubs. The response was overwhelming, resulting in an oversubscription of entries. The matches took place between September 15th and October 9th and were an enormous success. All thanks to the hard work, dedication and commitment of Peter.

ITV News arrived and filmed the event live on the first fixture of the floodlit league! The event was additionally covered on the BBC News Bristol website. Peter was quoted as saying “Bowls is a great spectacle under lights” – the events certainly attracted a number of non-playing spectators.

In addition to the floodlit league, Peter also runs an extremely popular and competitive fours tournament, which is regularly oversubscribed.

Peter has contributed significantly to promoting the game of bowls generally; he has made a mark with his innovative floodlit league securing a ‘bright’ future for the game for his club and across the county.

The nomination for Peter closed with the remarks: ‘This award would be a very fitting reward for the man who can, and does, do everything’.

West Wimbledon BC, Surrey

‘It turns out that it only takes one to change things forever’

Celebrating a centenary is a joyful time for any Bowls Club, but for West Wimbledon the start of the 2021 season was not jubilant. A dwindling club, with ageing male-only membership; it was in dire financial hardship. Members had loaned the club money just to survive and the green had seen better days. The Committee acknowledged that something had to be done, and fast!

Like many other clubs, West Wimbledon hired out the clubhouse for local functions.  It was a good opportunity to find additional revenue, and to entice the public to come back and have a go.  The pre-conception that the club was for the elderly and was not seen as welcoming, did not help – but it turns out that it only takes one to change things forever. A local lady agreed to organise an evening with her husband and ten other local couples to try our great sport. Whilst the evening was a great success, only one from the group joined as a member – but sometimes that one is enough!

Falling in love with the sport and he quickly began convincing local friends to try it out. Immediately increasing the membership by 10. Word of mouth continued and soon club membership was expanding rapidly. In 2021 the Club has also welcomed its first LGBT members as well as six visually impaired bowlers. As a bonus West Wimbledon can now boast a VI Bowls England international player in the ranks!

The diversity of the new membership generated a range of new ideas to implement and expand on.  Weekend matches against local teams were switched to mid-week evenings to accommodate young families; there was greater use of social media; and organised training sessions for new bowlers and children.

With new members, the financial situation started to improve and members completed the total refurbishment of the Clubhouse, including a mural of the 1921 members emphasising the unity and spirit.

There is so much to be said about West Wimbledon Bowling Club; appointing its first ethnic minority member to the committee; increasing membership to 105; having funds in the bank; a buzzing social calendar and a full engagement with the local community.  West Wimbledon has much to be admired in terms of its growth and outlook a club with a feel for the past but an eye firmly on the future.

The nomination form for West Wimbledon opened with: ‘This story will tell how the perseverance of the members led to a series of events that have put the Club not only in its strongest financial position ever but also returned it to be being an integral part of the local community’

Unsung Hero – The Nominees

Our sport is full of people who work tirelessly behind the scenes. This accolade will recognises someone who has contributed impressively to any area of voluntary activity to support the delivery of our sport.

David Linney - Market Bosworth BC, Leicestershire

‘Market Bosworth BC recognises David Linney as the true heartbeat of the club’

David Linney is an exceedingly valued and treasured member of Market Bosworth BC, someone who looks for the task that needs to be done, never seeking any thanks or recognition – he is simply selfless!

When he and his wife joined Market Bosworth BC they were new to bowls but they soon involved themselves in both the bowling and social side of club life. David assumed the role of Property Manager and under his tenure the list of improvements to the clubhouse is almost never ending. The club now boasts a wonderful new clock on the roof, a new honours board, a new kitchen arrangement and freshly decorated club rooms.

His accomplishments extend outside, where as a valued member of the Green team, he has attended Greens Management courses to ensure the club’s bowling surface always looks its very best. He  has worked tirelessly to raise funds to purchase a new mower and more recently a Verticutter. Spending countless hours filling in forms for grants from local and parish councils, which is a task no one enjoys but his efforts yielded success!

David is not limited to the look of the club. He is often the prime mover in organising and running the club’s social events; Horseracing evenings and Club Nights are amongst the many great evenings.

People like David see the jobs that others don’t; he installed solar powered lighting along the path for darker evenings; arranged a timed irrigation system to ensure that the hanging baskets don’t dry out and so much more. The result of all David’s efforts means that Market Bosworth BC promotes a sense of wellbeing for both members and visitors alike.

Market Bosworth BC recognises David Linney as the true heartbeat of the club from which so many positive things occur, he often provides the impetus for others to get involved. He has given so much to the club and it is clear that his fellow members recognise his commitment and pride in the game of bowls.

Jacqui Jarvis - Newport Pagnell BC, Buckinghamshire

‘Jacqui is one of those people who makes things seem effortless when in reality a huge amount of effort is involved’

Jacqui Jarvis is truly a multi-faceted club member. As Secretary she is the first port of call for endless enquiries from Members, other Clubs & Governing Bodies and she always manages these with the appropriate amount of patience, tact, diplomacy & fairness. The Club’s principal contact with the Town Council, she handles major issues such as negotiations regarding a Buildings Enforcement Notice and a potential move of the Club to a new location with bespoke buildings & facilities. She was also instrumental in ensuring the Club remained Covid-safe throughout 2021.

Jacqui is the friendly face of the Club for new joiners and oversees the recruitment process from start to finish, ensuring new Members are given a warm welcome. As part of the Social Team, Jacqui has taken it upon herself to maintain contact through the close season, particularly with those members who live alone or who are unable to see other friends due to the pandemic.

Ever conscious of the traditions and etiquette of bowls, Jacqui encourages feedback and ideas from members to ensure a sense of open communication within the club. Many of Jacqui’s ideas reduce pressure and workloads for members who voluntarily hold official positions within the Club. A flawless and detailed commitment to organisation ensures Club and County events are executed without a hitch. Jacqui is one of those people who makes things seem effortless when in reality a huge amount of effort is involved.

She is now implementing, with the Club’s Welfare Officer, a mechanism to help “at risk” members on a long-term basis, helping several members outside of her formal roles with their medical needs (in particular dementia). This has necessitated extra attention and assistance in the absence of any local family, including accompanying one member to a hospital appointment and being on hand at all hours of day & night to assist in moments of distress & crisis.

2021 has been a very difficult year for her on a personal level, but she has continued to support the club and its members despite having many other pulls on her time.

Newport Pagnell BC describe Jacqui as an infectious, bubbly personality that brightens any occasion. She has a warmth that shines through no matter the circumstances. In the club’s words, “she is a totally genuine person”. Without Jacqui in 2021, it would not have been the club’s most successful year in living memory. Jacqui is clearly a remarkable woman.

Jason Parkinson - Heaton Hall BC, Lancashire

‘The game of bowls should consider itself fortunate to have Jason Parkinson’

Jason Parkinson is a creative thinker and someone who continually seeks to engage with others to open doors and create opportunities allowing the game of bowls to grow.

Innovating in any sport is never straightforward; creating and advocating concepts is a significant personal and professional challenge, particularly in a traditional sport. The Lancashire Super League was initiated by Jason, offering a format during COVID-19 for new players to play alongside more experienced bowlers.

Introducing some much-needed humour in these dark days, the league promoted team names such as Hakuna Matata, West Coast Thunder, and Monkey Hangers! This is just a few of the well-considered names of the 18 teams with 72 players that make up the league. The Super League format for 2022, under the new stewardship of Brian Toner, reflects the continued innovation with the move to larger teams and the addition of Triples and Fours.

The Manchester Open attracted players from across the country, with a pair from Scotland (Carswell and MacDougall) securing victory and winning the £2000 prize fund. The use of social media and the Bowl Lancashire website is an excellent forum for information and engagement.

In addition, to his local work Jason has developed a national presence following his commentary skills behind both the World Indoor Bowls Championships and the Bowls England National Finals.

Jason drives these innovations to promote the game towards a broader audience. The future of any endeavour relies on individuals who are willing to stand up and advocate change. The game of bowls should consider itself fortunate to have Jason Parkinson as one such advocate and should applaud and recognise his efforts on behalf of the game as a whole.

June White - Thurlton BC, Suffolk

‘The club takes pride in considering itself not as a club but as a family, and June is one of the main ingredients that make this a reality’

June White has for 30 years taught and coached the game of bowls. Her club Thurlton BC is situated in the beautiful Norfolk countryside. The bowls club is a typical village club supporting the local community and relies on the efforts of members and volunteers to ensure its continued success. Therefore, it is more than noteworthy to recognise an individual who has inspired both on and off the green.

June has encourages new members to become the best bowlers they can be, promoting the competition through an extensive youth setup, and always being available to teach and help any member seeking to improve.

Throughout the season, June organises a variety of tournaments which are designed to promote engagement. A regular supporter of all the clubs social events, June strives to ensure they are inclusive for all.

In addition, more than 30 years ago, June started a junior section which has developed and grown.  The junior programme features a two hour coaching section and is part of a regular after-school club for the village primary school.

 

Thurlton BC has evolved from a small village club into a central part of the community, which is very much due to June’s efforts and considerable sacrifice. She continues to promote all that is good about the sport through a selfless commitment.

The club takes pride in considering itself not as a club but as a family, and June is one of the main ingredients that make this a reality. On her recent Facebook post June described her reaction to the nomination as being “stuck for words” and “never expected this in a million years”.

June is clearly a valued member of Thurlton BC and as a fellow member recently commented “you truly deserve to be honoured.”

Nigel Morgan - Haydon Wick BC, Wiltshire

‘Nigel works to remove obstacles, providing a platform that allows the bowls community to reflect the needs and demands of society’

Nigel has always had a passion for coaching, especially with including people into the sport with any form of disability.

Nigel Morgan became a Coach back in 1999 and worked at his club and County since then. He was an active member of the WBCA, Wiltshire Bowls Coaching Association and was their Treasurer in 2005 , Secretary and Treasurer in 2008, and has been the Wiltshire County Coach since 2013. He also became a National Umpire and had a trial for his International level. It was at this trial, the he realised that his passion was in coaching people to our sport and also teach people how to coach.

Nigel plays at Haydon Wick Bowls Club in North Swindon, Wiltshire, which is a relatively new club formed in 1992. He joined in 1999 and was soon active and started his coaching career. In 2001 he started the Monday evening open evenings to attract and train new members. This was so successful that it has been running ever since with the help and support from the clubs coaches (all of which he trained as coaches!). These sessions on average replace the natural losses every year.

In 2003 he became a Club Coach and in 2005 gained his Green Certificate. In 2015 he successfully passed his Coach Bowls Level 2 and encouraged eleven other Wiltshire Coaches to bridge across to Coach Bowls in the same session. In 2016 he became a Coach Bowls Tutor and has run over 70 courses since then from Level 1 and 2 to Adult Safeguarding and the Inclusion module.

In Wiltshire he has been the Development Officer since 2017 and is a guiding light in establishing the Bowls Wiltshire Youth Academy which will run its official inaugural event in May 2022 at Westlecot.

He is at the present the International Squad Coach for VIBE, Visually Impaired Bowls England, and helps both the bowlers and coaches. In 2019 he directed Keith Brenton to win his first England Men’s Singles Outdoor B1 (totally blind) Championship. Due to Covid 19 there was no championship in 2020, however in 2021 Keith went onto defend his title, playing six and winning six. He also, along with Margaret Custer, won the B1 Pairs competition. Both Keith and Nigel have been selected to play for both VIBE and DBE, Disability Bowls England, to represent England at the hoped for UK Outdoor Para Home Nations in August 2022.

Nigel is currently working towards his Coach Bowls Level 3 qualification. This qualification enables him to formally coach all levels up to and including International players.

Nigel is available as resource for all counties that need specialist support and he inspires others to achieve success. Nigel works to remove obstacles, providing a platform that allows the bowls community to reflect the needs and demands of society by building inclusion and access through skills and forums that reflect every individual’s needs.

Richard Spriggs - Essex County BC, Essex

‘A genuinely selfless individual who is recognised throughout the club as an incredible member, he is an inspiration for his dedication and sacrifice; proving the old adage that age really is just a number’

Richard Spriggs, at 70, considers age to be nothing more than a number. Bowls is a fantastic sport for any demographic and this is demonstrated by Richard both on at off the green. You will see him at the club’s open days and bowls for beginners courses, giving input to newer players at any opportunity.

Richard possess the skills, know-how & ability to make the difference, which can be a key factor between a club succeeding or simply getting by.  Richard along with his wife Tina, who is the Club Secretary, is always finding work to do at the club. Whether repairing something, creating something completely new or just simply maintenance Richard can turn his hand to most things.

There is an endless list of tasks at clubs and the costs of employing professionals can have a detrimental effect on bowls clubs limited budgets.  During the Covid-19 lockdown, Richard saved over £17,000 in club’s repair and renewal costs by doing the hard-physical labour himself. This created a saving for the club, which by anyone’s measurement was a substantial sum.

This saving provided invaluable resources that the club has now deployed elsewhere such as attracting new members, improving facilities, arranging club events and encouraging youth development.

Richard translates words into deeds, often taking the lead on major club projects. He provides opportunities for others to enjoy the club and the game of bowls. A genuinely selfless individual who is recognised throughout the club as an incredible member, he is an inspiration for his dedication and sacrifice; proving the old adage that age really is just a number.

Sid & Joy Steele- Blandford BC, Dorset

‘They are teaching the value of bowls as a sport to young people and ensuring the game has a bright future.’

Husband and Wife duo, Sid and Joy Steele have devoted over 10 years to developing junior bowls in Dorset. Starting in their home Club of Blandford BC, Sid and Joy relished the challenge of engaging with young players. They  have kept them stimulated with their innovative ways of producing equipment to bring fun into the game – as well as developing their skills along the way!

The creation of award schemes were created and introduced, further providing ways of keeping the younger members motivated and even today, 10 years on you will still see Sid with a piece of pipe and string in his hand designing a new exercise for the youngsters to try.

Sid and Joy’s journey began in 2011 when they were asked to help with  four juniors at Blandford. Within two years, they had taken over the junior section and had 23 youngsters on the books. Sid and Joy have both completed the Coach Bowls Level 1 and Level 2 awards.

As with all aspects of the sport, fundraising is essential.  Sid and Joy dived straight in with determination and after several fundraising events, they had money to buy and supply all the young players with kit utilising a loan scheme.  Through their hard work and endless dedication Dorset’s first Junior club was formed.

The numbers of youngsters taking up our sport in Dorset boomed, between 2015 and 2016, the numbers increased to 38 and in order to keep the new players entertained & enthused new tournaments and matches were introduced to increase the competition.

2017 was a key year for this hard-working couple when they met with other bowls coaches from other  Dorset clubs that were interested in setting up their own junior section.  A DVD and activity booklet was put together  detailing the effective activities that had been put in place at Blandford . This was then  distributed to any club interested in starting up a junior section.  It was at this meeting the idea of a Dorset Youth Academy was proposed and a steering committee was formed to oversee the formation and implantation of the Academy.  It was no surprise that Sid and Joy, with their knowledge and dedication were founding committee members.

The success kept growing, in May 2018 Sid and Joy were instrumental in setting up and running a ‘Festival of Bowls’ at which nearly 100 people of all ages took part in fun activities and challenges that Sid had created.

The inauguration for the Dorset Youth Bowls Academy took place in 2019, this was in conjunction with the 15 – 20 hours coaching that both Sid and Joy were already doing on a weekly basis. They sacrificed their own bowls and dedicated their entire days to the youngsters, which is true commitment and dedication.  In recognition of their efforts the pair received the Mayor’s Certificate of Appreciation in 2021.

The success of the Dorset Youth Bowls Academy has been seen throughout the Country with many Counties contacting Sid and Joy to discuss ways to emanate the success in their own areas.

The success that Sid and Joy has had with teaching the value of bowls as a sport to young people and ensuring the game has a bright future is worthy of recognition.

Bowls Maker of the Year – The Nominees

Volunteers are the lifeblood of our sport, and this honour is specifically for the outstanding volunteer at Bowls England events, such as the National Finals.

Edna Bessell MBE, Somerset

Edna is a fantastic nominee for this award. She has successful at national, international and Commonwealth she enjoys a rare pedigree as both player and supporter of the game. Acting as Bowls Technical Assistant at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games to the Women’s Senior Team Manager. Edna is currently the EIBA Ladies Senior Team Manager, always offering an easy presence with depth of knowledge and vast experience.  She continues to enjoy her long association with Somerset as Performance Manager and acts selflessly to offer practical support and advice across the full spectrum of the game’s participants. Awarded an MBE in 2011 she is a true pillar of the sport, Edna has offered bowls so much in terms support and commitment and this nomination recognises her significant contribution.

David King-Taylor, Nottinghamshire

David projects his enjoyment of the game through his clear unqualified passion. Nottinghamshire County Administrator overseeing growing, building and sustaining the game across the counties seven leagues. David has contributed his experience through the media, working as a pundit for the BBC, he has also worked at the 2012 Olympics as a Gamesmaker, and as a volunteer at Trent Bridge Cricket ground. A County player he competed at Worthing BC and is an excellent ambassador as well as a practical hand on individual who presents the game in a highly positive manner. David clearly enjoys a wide range of sports and represents Bowls as an outstanding ambassador.

Mike Wade, Bedfordshire

In any sport that requires an individual to give their time selflessly you need that person to apply themselves in a practical fashion, Mike is that person, an outstanding organiser. He is selfless in making himself available when needed, very focused whether it is live scoring, dealing with accreditation, ticketing, or sorting the parking he is always willing to offer practical help. He continues his roles as a member, Committee Member and Fixtures Secretary at Ampthill Bowls Club. Bowls requires lots of Mike Wades to make the game work, his nomination reflects how his commitment is acknowledged as above and beyond and reflects on a special individual.

Patricia Harvey, Warwickshire

Pat is a strong supporter and advocate of the game, a superb organiser and constant source of motivation, resourceful and offering help to anyone who needs support. Pat is is recognised as going above and beyond in her support and help at BENF is the epitome of a team player. She continues with her long-standing involvement at Warwickshire County Bowls. Pat has also frequently marked at the Nationals, however time has taken its toll on her joints, so she has been unable to continue this much-loved activity. Undeterred her love for the game remains undiminished and is an inspiration to everyone.

Robert Stanley, Worcestershire

Rob brings his practical IT skills and was the author of the original county website. Passionate about the game, excels in live scoring flexible & friendly and is always available to help and support others as required. Robs involvement in bowls is mainly as a competitor, a regional and national finalist and also a proud participant in international events. A highly experienced player who enjoys all facets of the game and offers commitment to the sport at all levels. Rob, offers that unique combination of practical and passionate support that is the life blood of our sport.

Official of the Year – The Nominees

This award will be presented to the umpire who has gone above and beyond in 2021. Their work will have helped deliver great experiences for participants this year.

Keith Sawdon, Berkshire

Keith performs a dual role at his club as both umpire and green keeper.He is also a member of the outstanding umpiring team at the National Finals at Leamington this year. Pre-COVID, in the last competitive year which was 2019, Keith was County President and supported Berkshire clubs as they progressed all the way to the semi finals in the fours and the finals for the triples. Keith was ever present for the Berkshire teams he is an advocate of the sport of bowls willing to support players and teams with his knowledge and experience.

Maxine Groce, Lancashire

Major events such as the Nationals need endless support helping with organisation, from match schedules to locker keys and refreshments. Maxine nevers considers herself above anything that needs to be done, her priority is the reputation of the game and the enjoyment of the participants. With a calm demeanor and a cheerful disposition Maxine provides a flexible work ethic which makes an enormous contribution to the smooth running of the any event that she is involved with.

Ed Poole, Oxfordshire

Even with working full time, Ed still finds the time to undertake a few very enjoyable umpiring events culminating last season in being able to umpire a final at Nationals Leamington.  He has been an umpire for over seven years and always enjoy being able to support the players and ensuring their play runs smoothly.

Oxfordshire is currently down to two umpires and one Marker so we regularly have to ask neighbouring counties to assist.

Ed is running marker awareness sessions with the younger players who are under training, this will progress to any players within each club.

Once interest has been established, we will progress to formal Markers courses with a view to some progressing on to become umpires.

John McKenzie, Somerset

John is used to dealing with tight schedules and is always on hand to support last minute changes. His methodical approach to organising, ensures members enjoy a safe environment to play bowls. As part of the EBUA, he been involved with re-writing their constitution. John represents his county Somerset for the EBUA and shows great commitment to his role and is always keen to help and support others.

A full list of FAQ’s for the event and information such as hotel & directions can be found here

Forgot your password?