Death of an icon

Nancie Colling, for decades a formidable presence on the scene of international women’s bowls, has died in Seaton at the age of 101, passing away peacefully in her sleep at the Manor House Care Home in that pretty South Devon coastal resort on Wednesday, 1 July.

Described as ‘an icon of our sport’ by President of the World Bowls Board John Bell, Nancie was a highly respected player, who won the English women’s outdoor singles title three times, and went on to become a top administrator.

Born in Colwyn Bay in North Wales in 1919, she took up bowls after her family settled in Somerset, and won the first of her three national singles titles in 1956, at the age of 37. She became President of the English Women’s Bowling Association in 1976. was Secretary of her national association from 1980 to 2002. She also served as President of the International Women’s Bowling Board.

“Nancie was recognised for her attention to detail, and her insistence on high standards,” said John Bell. “I have many happy memories of Nancie. She was a devoted servant to our sport, who made a fantastic contribution to the development of bowls.”

In 1996, Nancie’s lifetime of dedicated service to bowls was recognised by Her Majesty the Queen, who bestowed on her the rank of Member of the British Empire (MBE), and, six years later, in 2002, she was delighted to receive the CCPR Torch Trophy award, which was presented to her by Sir Bobby Charlton.

Wiltshire’s Howard Pryse, who was until recently the Financial Director of Bowls England, said, “Nancie was a wonderful asset to Bowls – an absolute treasure – and I doubt if we will ever see her like again.”

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