Mabs’ Magic

Messages of congratulations have flooded in from all over the crown green world after Telford’s Mabel Finnigan was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to bowls.

The proud pensioner from Madeley has been overhelmed by the number of phone calls, cards and messages received following the announcement in the King’s New Year Honours list.

Widely saluted as the rock of women’s bowling in Shropshire, Mabel has devoted much of her adult life to promoting and organising the sport she still loves to this day.

Her daughter, Deena Woodhall, said: “So proud of Mom – 88 and still going strong.

“She is so thankful for all the hard work certain folks have done for her – and so grateful for all the phone calls and messages.”

Her nephew and God son, St Georges star Tony Rhodes, added: “To be recognised, at this stage in life for what, at the end of the day, has been a passion of hers, is truly humbling for her.”

Shropshire Ladies president and County Development Officer Pauline Wilson led the tributes, saying: “I know many will want to join me in offering our heartfelt congratulations to Mabel for this once in a lifetime award – what a fantastic achievement.

Mabs was the founder and sole secretary of the Telford Ladies Afternoon League for 30 years; treasurer of the Shrewsbury Ladies League for 27 years; and county team captain and official of the Shropshire Ladies association, including the figurehead role of president.

Before taking on such high profile roles, she was a high class bowler in her own right and has treasured memories of her time at Dun Cow Bowling Club in Dawley with her late husband Jim.

She bowled for Madeley Court and, when that green closed, she moved to nearby Madeley Cricket Club BC and also to Broseley – and she is still an active and dedicated member of both those bowls clubs today.

Mid Shropshire League secretary Malcolm Fletcher said: “Mabel was the first female recipient of a life membership from the league in January 2020 – for if anyone deserved such an honour for all she has done for the sport then it was her.

“Her desire to promote the game and all that is good about it is infectious.

“And her determination to do things in the right and proper way is admirable.

“I am sure all the bowls clubs, leagues and bodies she has served over the years would whole heartedly agree.”

Mabel is PICTURED when receiving her MSBL Life Membership in January 2020