The world of bowls loses one of its great personalities in Rosie Smith

Rosie Smith

Rosie Smith - Credit: Archant

Rosie Smith may have been diminutive – she measured barely five feet – but there is no doubt the long-time secretary of Norfolk, and former President of the English Women's Bowling Association, was a pocket dynamo.

Rosie, who died, aged 82, after a short illness on Monday, was one of Norfolk's great bowling characters. Born in Cambridgeshire, she spent her early days in Upwell, working first in a sweet shop, then a haberdashery in Wisbech. She married Neville, a police officer and the couple moved to Mundford in Norfolk.

Together, in 1970, they joined the Mundford Bowls Club, where Rosie became ladies' captain in 1980, a role she was to assume again from 1982 to 1989. She won the club singles title five times – in 1980, 1987, 1989, 1991 and 2004 – and was club President from 2014 until her death.

Indoors, she was a member at the Old Hall club in Ashill, before joining the Brecks club when it opened at the Breckland Leisure Centre in Thetford in 2006. Rosie served as its inaugural President, and, again, this was a position she still held until her death.

Outdoors, she played for Norfolk roughly 50 times in the Johns Trophy, and was a member of the county side that won the coveted national title in 1985 and 1987 - and she was proud to be county president when Norfolk did the Johns Trophy and Walker Cup double in 1991.


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Over the years, she reached county finals in singles, pairs, triples and fours, winning the triples three times, in 1978, 1979 and 1980, and the fours once, in 1980. She also won the Norfolk Champion of Champions title in 1994.

Her love for the game meant she was also a mover-and-shaker off the green, the pinnacle of her achievements as an administrator came when she served as President of the English Women's Bowling Association in 1997.

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Rosie also served as secretary of the Norfolk County Women's Bowling Association from 1992-1995, and again from 2009-2017. She was assistant secretary to the national association from 1998-2002, and an international selector from 2000-2009. She received a special award from the EWBA in 2003, and was installed as an Honorary Life Member of the unified body, Bowls England.

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