Eric Exall: County bowler and president of Norfolk County Indoors Bowls

Stanley Exall

Stanley Exall - Credit: Archant

A former bowler for Norfolk and president of the indoor association, Eric Exall, has died aged 95.

After moving to the county more than four decades ago, he joined Diss & District Bowls Club and two years later, in 1981, became secretary.

He was invited to play for Norfolk and in 1989 was elected president of Norfolk County Indoor Bowling Association.

He served as secretary for six years and published the annual matches calendar book for 15 years. He was elected club president in 1996.

Born in September 1918 at King's Walden, Hertfordshire, he was the eldest of eight children. In May 1939, he joined the Territorial Army and was trained as a driver, becoming an instructor specialising in tank transports by the end of the year. Sent out to Cape Town in 1941, he became part of the 'Suez Shuttle' as troops sent to Egypt, avoided the hazards of the Mediterranean. He ended the Second World War in Hamburg having fought through North Africa and Italy.


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He had met Gladys, who had been a switchboard operator for the GPO (General Post Office) during the war. She told him that the GPO was recruiting engineering staff to work in the City of London. After he was demobbed, he was given the choice of 'up poles or down holes.' As he was never happy at heights, he was posted to the Wood Street Telephone Exchange and April 1946, they married.

He studied mathematics and technical subjects at evening class, specialising in fault control and often carrying out emergency cable repairs at all hours. In the 1950s, even GPO engineers had to join the waiting list to get a telephone at home. When there was a major breakdown, sometimes the police had to a deliver a message by car so he could help to repair faults. In 1965 he was promoted to assistant executive engineer.

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When he retired in 1979, he had been involved in national network planning and development. Based in the engineer-in-chief's office, his knowledge of old cables, which were occasionally unearthed, was second to none.

They moved from Thornton Heath, Croydon, where they had also been enthusiastic whist players and ran a wine making circle, to Diss.

Married for 67 years, they received congratulations from the Queen on their diamond jubilee and also their 65th wedding anniversary.

He is survived by his wife Gladys and two sons, Stanley and Stephen. A funeral service will be at Earlham Crematorium in Norwich on Tuesday, January 28 at 2.15pm.

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