Bowls England Chief Executive Tony Allcock OBE was awarded Bowls England Life Membership at the Women’s Annual Dinner and Presentation of Prizes held on Saturday 23rd November in recognition of his outstanding service to the sport.
Tony, who will be retiring from his position of Chief Executive in the New Year, is the most decorated lawn bowls player in the world.
Since his retirement from competition in 2002, he has dedicated his life to developing and modernising the sport, initially as Chief Executive of the English Bowling Association before taking on his current role in 2008.
Tony said: “It has been a great honour to serve the bowlers of England as Chief Executive. I am sure that the rime is right for me to stand aside, but I shall certainly miss the day-to-day involvement with the Board, Players, Officials and my staff team. It was a great surprise to be made a Life Member of Bowls England, and something that I will cherish in my retirement.”
Bowls England Chair, David Mitchell-Gears MBE, who presented Tony with the award, said: “I have had a close working relationship with Tony for many years since he joined the English Bowling Association and know first-hand how hard working he is on behalf of our sport. It is thanks to his influence, foresight, energy and determination that Bowls England sits today in such a healthy condition and, I am sure, his successor and future generations of bowlers in England will benefit from the foundations that have been laid.”
In 2002 Tony became England’s most successful-ever Commonwealth Games Lawn Bowls Performance Director. This included personally coaching a visually impaired player, Ruth Small, to the Gold Medal – a first for any British athlete in the sport.
Upon his appointment as Chief Executive in 2003, he implemented a modernisation programme for the sport, utilising his influence to form Bowls England. This led to a significant change in the image of the sport, with a greater focus on encouraging participation among young people, ethnic minorities and players with disabilities.
In 2013, he successfully negotiated with Warwick District Council to secure Bowls England’s relocation to Royal Leamington Spa and more recently he was instrumental in ensuring that Victoria Park was selected as the host venue for Lawn Bowls at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
In addition to the ‘day job’, Tony continues to lend his vast experience to a number of organisations associated with the sport. He was a founder member of the Friends of English Bowling, which has now dispersed a total of nearly £400,000 to enable players of all ages and abilities to participate, and he has served as a Trustee for the English Bowling Associations Charity Trust for 25 years, with monies raised and distributed to bowlers in need since its inception totalling more than £150,000.
All of these achievements helped to earn him the OBE for services to lawn bowls in the Queen’s Birthday Honours earlier this year, a deserved award that he recently received at Buckingham Palace from Her Majesty, who is Patron of Bowls England.