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All about The Friends

If you love the game of bowls, and like the idea of putting something back into the sport, then please consider The Friends of English Bowling

The biggest supporters of outdoor bowls in England, supporting the national finals, assisting Youth Development, and Disability Bowls England.

Benefits in addition to supporting the sport, include the opportunity to play in our many fixtures around the country, celebrating milestones in a club’s history, competing in their annual two-wood pairs competition, a lapel badge, bi-annual newsletters and from Bowls England their latest news.

Bowls International spoke with current chairman Kath Lloyd to find out more about The Friends.

BI: Tell me about The Friends ofEnglish Bowling?

KL: In 2004, it was difficult to find sponsors for the bowls championship finals and so a group of men bowlers decided to give something back to the sport they loved.They formed The Friends to help support the finals and in 2005 the inaugural meeting was held. 

The membership fee is an altruistic £100 per year. This on its own cannot support much, but for every 100 members £10,000 is given.  To date we have donated £617,600.

Anyone is welcome to join, bowlers or non-bowlers.

Through the years, we have diversified our donations by supporting Disability Bowls England, the first aid provision at the finals, the counties, youth initiatives and the clubs, as well as the finals and it is our hope that in the future we can help the clubs more.

BI: So how long have you been involved with the association and what is your role?

KL: At the inaugural meeting, I sat between Ian Morrill (EBA president) and Tony Allcock (CEO) just to take the minutes and finished the meeting elected to the committee. I was made treasurer in 2007 and then, between Mike Poole (former membership secretary) and I, we put together a constitution for The Friends. I remained treasurer until 2021 when I was elected to the chair of the committee. I try to keep the committee, who all have jobs to do for Friends, happy and help them where possible. I am involved with liaising between Bowls England and the Friends when needed and also with Disability Bowls England.

BI: What do you like most about

The Friends?

KL: Simply all the members. They really are a great lot of people who are from all over England. It’s like an extended family.

BI: How can people join?

KL: We have a website www.friendsof englishbowling.co.uk. It has just been revamped and we are proud to say it is easy to use. All our details are on it and the information on how to join us is there. We also have flyers, with our details on, which we give out and leave at the clubs we visit. Our membership secretary is John Thompson. John can be contacted by ’phone on 01992 308648 or by email foebmembershipsec@gmail.com.

BI: What are the benefits of joiningThe Friends?

KL: Primarily the satisfaction of supporting the sport of bowls in return for past and present enjoyment of bowling. Making new friends with people all over the country, as well as benefits at the national finals, participation in friendly and social bowls matches for The Friends of English Bowling, July and December newsletters about the Friends’ activities, Bowls England Friends only emails sent to members with email addresses and a members’ lapel badge issued on joining.

BI: Is The Friends just for individuals or can associations join?

KL: Clubs and associations can join The Friends as long as they give us a nominated contact. 

BI: How do clubs and association arrange fixtures with The Friends?

KL: Our fixtures come from various sources which are Bowls England, county associations, clubs, individuals. They contact our match secretary Adie Lloyd (email: lloyd.adie@gmail.com). Adie then talks to the enquirer about date and costs (we pay our way). This has to be done a year in advance and often two years in advance.

BI: How do members keep up to date with news of The Friends

KL: Information is updated on our website regularly. Reports and photos of our matches are usually on our website by the end of the week they are played in so that the people who we played can see this information and tell others who were not there to look at the reports. We also issue two newsletters by email to our members, one summer and one winter edition. All of the committee members contribute copy to these. And of course, we all, the committee and members talk about The Friends all over England as we all come from different counties.

If you are involved with an association which we can spotlight in a forthcoming issue, please contact ceris.hewlings@keypublishing.com

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