Life Members

In 2017 the Mid-Shropshire Bowling League decided to give recognition to the efforts of bowlers who have endeavoured to further the sport of Crown Green Bowls at:- National, County, League, or Club level.

Celia Miles – SJB -2023

Celia holds the proud distinction of being the longest serving officer of the League, having succeeded John Emonson as treasurer for the 2010 season. That came two years after she followed Roger Teague into the post of secretary of the Sir John Bayley’s bowls section. Never one to blow her own trumpet, her succinct reports have become a trademark feature of League meetings – but rest assured she is never afraid to have her say. 

  Celia’s assistance with the annual presentation dinner has been invaluable and her attention to detail over more than a decade has helped ensure that the League remains in a healthy financial position. In fact her input is vital in the many officers meetings that are held to try and plot the best way forward to bowls in Mid Shropshire. 

  The sport was in her blood as she watched her father play for GKN SankeyKings Head and Trench. Herself a playing member of British Sugar, ErcallMagna, Sir John Bayley and Sinclair for 30 years, she always gives her all on the green. Life Membership is her reward for her dedication.

Mike Potter – Trench – 2023

There can’t be many bowlers in the whole of Shropshire who either don’t know Mike or haven’t heard of him – and here in Mid Shropshire land he’s our greatest treasure. We all know that Mike is a man who lives and breathes bowls, have been widely recognised as Shropshire’s top referee before twice serving as County President. Not content with that, he’s now the county’s competition secretary, with his wife Linda never far from his side, and is a mainstay of the Shropshire Referees Society.

  But some may not know that Mike enjoyed a pretty impressive playing career on greens all over the county before illness stopped him playing. He took up the game in 1979 and has played for Corporation (winning their averages for four years in a row), Minsterley in division one of the Shrewsbury League, then GWR, Donnington Wood (where he served for 3 years as club secretary), Wrockwardine Wood, Edgmond in the WhitchurchLeague and Coddon. Now he’s a respected member of Trench who played a big role in their centenary celebration day in August. His best claims to fame as a bowler are winning the Clare Cup for the best newcomer at the County Handicap in 1984 and then triumphing in the Mid Shropshire Merit in 2006 – a remarkable feat for a third division bowler. Put simply, if anyone deserves Life Members of the Mid Shropshire League, it’s Mike Potter.

Geoff Clarke – Dun Cow – 2023

  Geoff played regularly for the Dun Cow from 1962 to its final game in 2008, skippering the team that won the League championship in 2001 before losing to Ford in the Premier League play-offs. He had 6 trophy laden years bowling for Donnington Wood before going on to play for the White Horse and lastly Madeley Cricket Club, where he was still playing in the Friday divisions in 2015. Capped 42 times by Shropshire, and a past League chairman and President (1009 to 2000), Life Membership is the least he deserves.

In the 91 year history of the League, the playing records prove that Geoff is one of the greats of Mid Shropshire bowls. He won Senior Merit no less than four times – in 1984, 1999, 2001 and again in 2004 – having burst onto the county scene by winning the Shropshire Merit in 1982 at Prees when the great Dick Meyrick was one of his scalps. Geoff teamed up with Andy Stevens to win the County Doubles in 1989, but his service to the game was not limited to just on the green as, in tandem with past League chairman Gordon Lovatt, he took great pride in being a junior selector and encouraging youngsters into the sport. 

Keith Pessall – SJB – 2022

There can be no dispute that Keith is simply one of the best bowlers that Mid Shropshire has ever produced.

The League’s Merit champion in 1979, he went on to claim two County Merit crowns in 1980 and 1998.

In the 18 years between those Shropshire triumphs, Keith was a proud winner of the Midland Masters in 1992.

And he was never far from the headlines as he added numerous league and cup successes for his clubs.

Keith sadly drifted away from league bowls and towards the golf course at the end of the 2013 season, but his headline making days in bowls were not over.

For just last year, having returned to playing here at Sir John Bayley, he became Shropshire’s first ever winner of the British Veterans Merit after a remarkable run of victories at Prees.

He said after that memorable day: “It was in the previous century (at a County Merit) that I played five games on the bounce, so I was surprised that I was able to stay the course – both mentally and physically.”

Well he’s stayed the course for more than half a century in our game and who could doubt that he deserves Life Membership 

Colin Rudrum – Newport – 2022

Colin, with his wife Gillian at his side, is another from the mould of the ‘One Club Man’ that the League can be mighty proud of.

His pride at the recent remarkable achievements of his beloved Newport has been clear for all to see.

From Mid Shropshire League champions in 2003, the Fishes survived a few struggles in the Premier League before going on to dominate it for 5 years from 2011, adding the County Cup in 2012 and again in 2014.

And Colin played a massive part in helping the club rise to that status, his time as a respected Club President ensuring their higher profile was here to stay.

He also proved his prowess on greens too, winning the County Father & Son with Dale in 2004.

Colin was a long serving club delegate for Newport and continues to serve bowls in Mid Shropshire as chairman of the League’s disciplinary committee. 

And tonight we honour him for all he has done for the game

Angela Gaut – Wrockwardine Wood – 2022

If you want to know how to win a bowls title then there’s nobody better to ask than Wrockwardine Wood legend Angela Gaut.

And that’s not just on the local and county scene either, for Angela has graced the game at national level, winning the British Ladies Merit in 1985 and 1990, and the Pairs crown with sister Helen Clee in 2000 and 2004.

Winner of more than 100 caps for Shropshire Ladies, she played a key role in their British Ladies county championship triumphs of 2008, 2013 and 2016.

She’s won League titles galore, been a guest of honour at a League annual presentation dinner and now comes what we hope she will feel is the icing on the cake in terms of how Mid Shropshire can honour her – with a deserved Life Membership . . .

For Angela was also the long serving secretary of the Shropshire Ladies association, somehow finding the time alongside family life and working to keep driving it and her beloved Wrockwardine Wood forward to new heights.

And the successes have kept coming and in 2017 she was a brilliant winner of the Isle of Man September Festival crown, having lost in the final of it 10 years earlier in an all-Shropshire final against Tracy Ryan.

Mabel Finnigan – Broseley – 2020

Mabel can only be described as the rock of women’s bowling in Shropshire. The founder and sole secretary of the Telford Ladies Afternoon League for nearly 30 years; treasurer of the Shrewsbury Ladies League for 26 years; a captain and official of the Shropshire Ladies association, including president. And I’m sure that’s not the half of it! She has treasured memories of her time at Dun Cow Bowling Club, Madeley Court and now Broseley – and if anyone deserves to be the first female recipient of a life membership from this League, for all she has done for the sport in this area and throughout Shropshire, then it is Mabel

Bob Mumford – Much Wenlock – 2020

Simply has to be one of the most popular people in Mid Shropshire bowling circles. He loves playing the sport and always has time for a chat, his devotion to the Much Wenlock club shining through conversations. A good bowler, Bob is also one of the top referees to have come through the ranks in Shropshire, officiating at top tournaments and he’s still active at league and county level. We don’t think he should be an unsung hero any longer and that is the reason for this award to Bob

Ian Gaut – St Georges – 2020

Quite simply one of the greatest administrators to have graced the game in Shropshire. And it all started with a short spell as fixture secretary of this League before a meteoric rise to become county secretary in 1994 and start the computerised revolution of the game. In the very same year he became the first secretary of the new Shropshire Premier League and remained at the forefront of changing things for the improvement of bowlers and bowls in the county for a decade, also serving the Donnington Wood and St Georges clubs with distinction. His life membership of the Premier League was long overdue and now it is our turn to pay tribute and say thank you to Ian. 

Richard Chesters (Deceased)- Edgmond – 2019

Richard should be called ‘Mr Edgmond’ because his service to the village club stretches back over four decades. In fact it wasn’t until 1976 that Edgmond joined the Mid Shropshire League – and two years later he became secretary of the club. Since then he has been their delegate to the League – and in 1990 he had the honour of being elected chairman of the Mid Shropshire League, a year that saw Donnington Wood crowned champions and Peter Farmer win the Merit. 

Ron Adams (Deceased) – Madeley CC – 2019

Ron has been secretary, chairman and president for our neighbours, the Highley League, and he has loyally served on the county executive committee for an amazing 40 years. That service to Shropshire continues today on behalf of the Mid Shropshire Senior Citizens League, for whom he’s been a popular and long serving treasurer and past president. 

John Hughes ( Deceased) – HUSC – 2018

John Hughes is a respected former competition secretary, junior selector and sponsorship guru who continues to help the League with its on-going deal with Molson Coors. He also served as county treasurer and a Shropshire junior selector.  

Steve Wall – Albrighton – 2018

A long serving stalwart of Albrighton BC. Steve has also supported the league for almost 30 years in various roles of Chair, County Rep, Fixture Sec, Webmaster. He has been instrumental in implementing and promoting many of the new technologies used by the league. 

Frank Booth (Deceased) – Madeley CC – 2018

Serving both the MSBL and the Mid-Shropshire Senior Citizens League, through various roles which have included Chair of the MSSCL, Fixture Sec for both MSBL and MSSCL, where he has been instrumental in introducing new technologies.  

Jeff Hutchinson (Deceased) – SJB – 2017

Awarded in recognition to the long term commitment and outstanding work on behalf of the League and SCGBA. Past league secretary and president who represented Mid Shropshire as County President in 2005.

Malcolm Fletcher – Ex Ercall Magna – 2017
Malcolm has played a key role in developing the league through his tenure as Secretary which has culminated in securing significant grants for Junior Bowls development. Malcolm also represented the league at County Level ensuring the voice of MSBL is heard and acted upon.
Barry Griffiths (Deceased) – St Georges – 2017

Awarded for long term commitment to the League, SCGBA and BCGBA .