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Photo Gallery: The World Indoor Bowls Championship at Potters Resort that Brian would have been proud of

PUBLISHED: 11:30 14 January 2015 | UPDATED: 11:30 14 January 2015

2015 World Indoor Bowls Championships at Potters resort, Hopton. David Gourlay & Mervyn King (red) v Jonathan Ross & Wayne Hogg (green)   Picture: James Bass

2015 World Indoor Bowls Championships at Potters resort, Hopton. David Gourlay & Mervyn King (red) v Jonathan Ross & Wayne Hogg (green) Picture: James Bass

It’s been business as usual this week at the home of bowls – and that’s just the way Brian Potter would have wanted it.

The best players on the planet and thousands of fans have already descended on Potters Leisure Resort for its 17th consecutive staging of the World Indoor Bowls Championships. But for the first time since the showcase event arrived in little Hopton-on-Sea, the man who brought it to the resort near Great Yarmouth will not be there to witness it.

Mr Potter, MBE, died on November 4, 2014, aged 73 leaving behind his beloved wife Judy and two children, John and Jane. His son is now the managing director but admits that his father’s presence continues to be sorely missed.

The fourth generation head of the business said: “My father (Brian) told Roy Waller a long time ago on Radio Norfolk; ‘You never think that your parents are going to die’.

“You go on in life knowing they’re going to die one day but you don’t actually believe it. Then in 1984 he was quoted as saying; ‘Wow, my dad’s (Hector) not around to ask anymore’ and I feel almost exactly like that now. It’s like oh my god, he’s not around anymore to ask.

Brian Potter, at the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines World Indoor Bowls Championships 2013. Picture: James Bass.Brian Potter, at the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines World Indoor Bowls Championships 2013. Picture: James Bass.

“As far as the operation is concerned my father was always very clever in succession planning and I’m very lucky that I’ve been managing director for 15 years. So operationally we’re all very solid here. But there is a huge hole. And not having him to ask, the longest serving person I think in our industry, is a great miss.”

Brian turned Potters into a year-round holiday destination, developing an out-of-season midweek business by focusing and investing in bowls. He became one of Norfolk’s best-known and most-loved businessmen for his high standards in customer service during a tenure that saw more than £50million invested into the coastal venue.

“Dad lead the family very well and him and my mother met when they were babies,” smiled their proud son, who oversees more than 500 members of staff.

“They’ve been together forever and they did everything together. For my mother in particular it’s clearly, and it goes without saying, been a very difficult time for her. But she’s been very, very strong. And as dad always said, ‘the show must go on’ and it will go on.

Just some of Brian Potter’s notable achievements

- Born, December 17, 1940

- First started working for his family’s business in 1962

- Took over Potters after his father Hector died in 1984

- Turned down the offer of a blank cheque from

- Opened a £2.5million international standard bowls stadium in 1998

- Staged the World Indoor Bowls Championships for the maiden time in 1999

- Helped the Hopton-on-Sea holiday venue become a five-star rated attraction

- Recognised for his services to tourism by made an MBE in 2012

- Won countless tourism and customer-service excellence awards

- Involved in numerous charity projects, including being vice president of Gorleston lifeboat fundraising committee.

- The village now offers 250,000 bed nights a year and serves 16,000 meals a week.

“I put on my Facebook page when he died that the idea in life is not to live forever, but to create something that will. And he’s certainly done that because as I say, the show will go on.

“He’ll be looking down on the championships (started on January 9 and runs until January 25) and there will be times of course when we’ll think ‘I wish dad was here for that’. I’m sure there’ll be many tributes paid to him that will keep reminding us that he’s not here.

“But we musn’t forget that people are here on holiday and they’ve come here to have a good time. They will have a good time and in no way should dad’s not being here overshadow that – he would have hated for that to happen.”

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