WOW "Bolty" got Alex Marshall MBE to visit us.
Northampton Whyte Melville Bowling Club
Report from David Bolt "Bolty" on his and Alex's visit(s) to Northampton Whyte Melville Bowls Club
Tuesday 10 September 2019
My first visit of the week was to Whyte Melville BC. Due to poor weather in 2018 I was unable to take part in any activities on the green so everyone took cover in the clubhouse and we played some short mat bowls.
What was great this year was firstly the weather was excellent but also I instantly saw players who had attended the club for the first time in 2018 who had joined the club following my visit. I was made extremely welcome throughout and had the opportunity to talk to everyone that attended to help with Q&A or just a general chat. We also had the assistance of the Daventry Football Club photographer who took some fantastic shots and also showed a real interest in the sport. Peter would be an integral part of the visit and he was a pleasure to work with.
The highlight of my visit was assisting a gentleman called Mike who had attended the club based on reading the advertised visit. Mike had never played bowls before but was also recovering from a serious stroke. He was a former long distance runner but it was evident the recovery period had taken a toll on his strength and he was very uneasy on his legs. I spent some time working on getting him comfortable on the mat and we saw huge progress in a 20 minute period where he was able to deliver comfortably and really gave him a positive feeling due to going from an initial struggle to then getting bowls close to the jack.
What was nice was he was inspired so much that he intended to go home and work on strengthening the areas that would enable him to come back and play again. This for me is why I enjoy what I do as we are not just looking to recruit players but can effectively also enhance lives.
After a diet (honest) scone with clotted cream and jam I then had the pleasure to meet Rachel and Ian who run Sport4fitness within the same sports club as the bowls. I had also met Rachel in 2018 when they were in the infancy of their business which provides a safe place and activities for those with a disability. It was fantastic to see their new premises and to hear about the progress they had made since I was last there. A frustration however was they still did not feel they were gaining the exposure they deserve for providing the amazing service they do. We had a long discussion and it was quite obvious that they suffered the same issues that a lot of our bowls clubs encounter so I really hope I was able to help with ideas that will hopefully help the business move forward.
They will certainly not be alone in the UK and I feel a relationship can be created with all similar organisations and our bowls clubs to aid Disability bowls and to potentially create a conveyor belt system that benefits us all.
Thursday 12th September 2019
A return to Whyte Melville rounded off our club visits where the club had been taking on a team from the Northants Retired Police. Alex "Tattie" Marshall MBE was guest of honour at the event and presented the trophy to the winning team which incidentally was Whyte Melville. The positive effect Alex's attendance had on the 60 ish attending was very noticeable and a life long memory was provided to Nev who received the trophy and had his picture taken. The fact Nev had been nervous all week just to meet Alex is testimony to Alex's standing within the sport and this was only enhanced by his visit to our club.
I feel Alex will have a few more bowlers cheeing him this year at Potters in the WBT Finals..
Secretary: Pat Bodily
Find Northampton Whyte Melville Bowling Club
Fernie Fields Sports & Social Club, Moulton Way, Northampton, Northamptonshire, NN3 7BD