Fakenham Gallow honour Johnny for stalwart work with bowls club

Peter Bird
Peter Bird

Fakenham Gallow Indoor Bowls Club honoured Johnny Wright, one of their staunchest members, by presenting him with the Arthur Negus Personality Cup for his work for the club.

Wright, chairman for 12 years between 1996 and 2008, has been deeply involved for many years in all aspects of the running of the club, most particularly coaching younger members.

The presentation was made at the club’s annual finals night last Friday.

He turned to bowls later in life with the same enthusiasm he showed when younger having represented the town in a long list of sports including football and cricket whilst also showing prowess in badminton, tennis and golf.

Amongst the ladies long time member Maureen Leverett, ladies president for the last three years, was awarded the Vera Wright Rose Bowl for her work for the club by new president, Marie Frost.

“It’s a great honour to take over from Maureen and she will be a hard act to follow,” said Frost.

Shannon Tucker, an effervescent personality, was judged to be the Morrisons’ Young Achiever of the Year and Ben Hunter was awarded the Mervyn King Trophy for under-25 Achiever of the Year.

Gallow is one of the strongest clubs in Norfolk, one of the strongest counties in England.

That strength was underlined by Danny Cawthorne winning the English Bowls Federation national singles title in Newark the day after finals night and the club’s ladies pairs and triples teams and the men’s triples and fours all featuring in this year’s county finals.

This season members provided half of the county’s 10-strong U25 team. Several of these youngsters have also already played in the county’s senior Liberty Trophy team.

It is a club with strength in depth. Not surprisingly Cawthorne picked up no fewer than five club titles, was the losing finalist in two more and also showed that even the best can also fall at the first hurdle when beaten in the initial round of the mixed pairs yet still came smiling by winning the plate competition with Emily O’Hanlon.

Club international, Mervyn King, often away on international duty, did not figure in the winners list this year but son, Sam, now an U25 international snatched four titles, the club singles, the open singles, the mixed pairs with Suzanne King and the Tartan Trophy with O’Hanlon and Cawthorne.

The Open Singles has a secure future. It is to be sponsored for 10 years by just retired club chairman, Jack Bedingfield Dennis. And even men’s president, Richard Andrews, found time in a busy administrative schedule to pick up two titles leading both the Division One and Stratford Cup teams to victory.

Pam Whitehead was a worthy winner of the ladies’ singles title and it was a good year for Louise Hannant. She was a member of the winning pairs and triples teams and a losing finalist in the fours. Pairs partner, Coralie Bell, replicated Hannant’s achievements.

Afterwards Richard Andrews, men’s president, said: “We are still one of the leading clubs in Norfolk, with an especially strong junior section, but we are always looking for more members of all ages. It is not just a sport for the elderly as has been shown by the results of our younger players.”