Passion for sport created leading Norfolk leisure omplex

A passion for sport led farmer's wife Betty Rossi, who has died aged 76, to start one of Norfolk's best-known leisure facilities. Her bold vision, shared with her husband John, saw Rossi's at North Walsham becom-ing Britain's largest indoor bowling centre.

A passion for sport led farmer's wife Betty Rossi, who has died aged 76, to start one of Norfolk's best-known leisure facilities. Her bold vision, shared with her husband John, saw Rossi's at North Walsham becom-ing Britain's largest indoor bowling centre.

She saw the latest attraction, children's indoor adventure

centre Stompers, officially opened just a few weeks ago.

A farmer's daughter, she was born at Suffield and went to North Walsham School for Girls. She worked for the town's Barclays Bank before she was married.


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Although neither Mr or Mrs Rossi had ever played bowls, they decided to open a purpose-built indoor centre in 1978 on the edge of the town. It became a huge success and expanded rapidly. Further expansion took place in 1982, then again in 1984, as eventually 12 indoor rinks were built. Betty's experience of sport, as captain of North Walsham Ladies' Hockey Club for a quarter of a century and playing badminton for Norfolk, was invaluable in designing a friendly, functional centre.

After indoor bowls, squash foll-owed, then 10-pin bowling, as the leisure complex evolved. Today, Rossi's employs about 55 staff and is run by her youngest son, Bruce.

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Mrs Rossi loved playing golf and was a ladies' captain at Royal Cromer. She captained the Norfolk Veterans golf team and particularly enjoyed playing in Portugal.

Her husband died in 1997, and she leaves children Kate, Nigel, Simon and Bruce and 10 grandchildren.

A service of thanksgiving will be held at St Nicholas Church, North Walsham, on Monday; 2.30pm.

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