John Church MBE from Higham Ferrers BC in Northamptonshire received the prestigious Bowls England Certificate of Merit at the County Luncheon held on Sunday 15th October from Bowls England President Viv Tomlinson.
Bowls England award the Certificate of Merit annually to individuals that have provided outstanding service to the sport of outdoor bowls at club and county level in England.
John has served a variety of roles for both Club and County. These include club secretary for the Northamptonshire Police BC for 10 years from 1983 and at Higham Ferrers BC for 5 years in the 1990’s.
His County roles have included as Secretary, President, Selector, Middleton Cup Manager, Yearbook Secretary, as well as currently holding the positions of Press Officer and Website Manager in addition to being the current Chairman and Secretary of the Bowls Northamptonshire Benevolent Fund.
Notably John served on the Northamptonshire Bowling Association and Bowls Northamptonshire’s Management Committee since 1999, Selection Committee since 1998 and Competition Committee since 2005.
However John’s forte is certainly in his capacity as Press Officer. On a weekly basis he provides the county’s bowlers, local media and club secretaries with updates on both local and national topics. John is well known for his attendance at the National Championships, with decisive coverage for both genders.
John’s application and devotion to the sport personifies the level of commitment and time he engages in his duties, along with the outreach to the wider community regarding all aspects of the sport.
Following his award, John said: “I was somewhat ‘stunned’ by this accolade, almost lost for words in fact, and felt I rather inadequately thanked Viv and those who had nominated me.
“All roles have their own values of course, but being Press Officer is the one that particularly dominates my life, supported heavily by my wife Susan.
“What I do for my sport I love, and I know it is greatly appreciated, but the receipt of this award is, for me, the pinnacle in recognition of my efforts on behalf of everyone in our sport.”
Bowls England introduced the Certificate of Merit to recognise the work of volunteers to support the sport at Club and County level – from Secretaries and Treasurers to Greenkeepers and Umpires.
The award is open to anyone who is involved with a club, county, organisation or association affiliated to Bowls England, except for those who have already received Life Membership or Honorary Membership of Bowls England.