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75 Years of Ladies Bowling in Bedfordshire

75 Years of Ladies Bowling in Bedfordshire.

The Past Presidents of Bowls Bedfordshire organised a celebration of 75 Years of Ladies Bowling in Bedfordshire this was held at Shefford with tea and cake and a lovely afternoon was had by everyone.

 So, on 6 November 1949, Fifty ladies plus a 6 year old from Bedfordshire clubs assembled at the Dujon Café, High Street, Bedford over a cup of tea costing tuppence together with the EWBA Secretary Mrs Coakes and Immediate Past President Mrs E Huckle. It is pleasing to report we were duly elected as members of the EWBA in 1949 and the affiliation fee was £1.10shillings. To raise money a County Patrons Fund was suggested at a cost of 5shillings. They held Bowls Drives, Whist Drives and Coffee Mornings to raise money for County Funding. The winners of the first competitions donated cups which are still in existence today. County uniform was made from firm material flannelette for preference. White or cream in colour, shoes and stockings brown, hats white or cream felt with a brim. How times have changed.

The first President of the Bedfordshire County Women’s Bowling Association in 1950 was Mrs E Marks from Russell Park, in 1951 Mrs E Jarden 1954 Mrs V N Revis and 1960 Mrs E B Cherry and 1978 Mrs E Sloper and 1994 Mrs F Baines. Russell Park has certainly played their part in producing these Presidents. Mrs Marjorie Campbell from Bedford Women was elected Junior Vice President of England and was England President in 1973, it is said that without the constant help given by Marjorie the County may not have reached the milestone of success. Mrs Jean Tait was President of the English Women’s Bowling Association in 2001 followed by Diane Ingle as Bowls England President in 2009. Mrs Jean Tait was also European Bowls Union President from 2010 to 2013.

Some of you may have come to Kempston in 2009 to help celebrate 60 years of Ladies Bowling in Bedfordshire where some of the bowlers from different clubs kept us amused with their acting and singing giving us lots of laughs.

Bedfordshire is a small County but has provided some excellent results at Wimbledon and Leamington. We have international players starting with Irene Pyne in 1970.  Jaye Christie won Gold in the Fours team at the 10th Women’s World Bowls in 2004. Junior Internationals has seen Miss Catherine Brace, Mrs Karen Russell, Miss Hannah McConnell and Miss Katie Barnard. In 2012 Pauline Bright won the Patrons Cup, Maureen McPherson won in 2014 and Jackie Cameron in 2018. Also in 2018 Carol Smithers, Evelyn Fagan and Linda Gibson were joint second in the Benevolent Triples. In 2015 Kim Tift, Jenny Mitchell and Jenny Dowers were the National Triples winners and in 2019 Dawn Grisley, Maz Fisher, Jenny Ralph and Jackie Bryant were the National Senior 4s winners. Last year Jayne was runner up in the National Singles and her Mum June Measures in 1986 won the mixed pairs with John McConnell. In 1991 the mixed pairs were won by Jane and Gary Smith.

We strive to do our best for our clubs and County when we are on the green and to uphold what others have set before us.

A big thankyou to Shefford STMA for allowing us to use this hall today, thank you to those who have baked cakes, gave raffle prizes and all the helpers here today. A big thankyou to all the Past Presidents who have given so much time to make this celebration a huge success. Its lovely to see familiar faces again and thank you all for coming along to help us celebrate 75 years of ladies bowling in Bedfordshire.



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