July 23 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, June 14, 2014
A Clacton man who is a leading light in the world of bowls has been awarded an MBE for his dedication to the sport.
David Mitchell-Gears, 74, is president and a trustee of Clacton Bowls Club, as well as the chairman and only life member of Bowls England.
A bowls player since 1965, he helped to set up the national organisation when the men’s and women’s associations amalgamated and has been its chairman since its inception.
Mr Mitchell-Gears said: “It is nice really for bowls to be recognised, there’s not too many MBEs knocking about for it.
“I feel very privileged and proud to be given the honour.
“I first played after I was harassed because the council needed a player for an annual match, and the caretaker of the town hall said that as I played cricket I must have good hand-eye co-ordination.
“That’s how it started, and it was a long time ago.”
Mr Mitchell-Gears has also led county and regional bowls associations, both indoor and outdoor, at various times as well as being chief executive of Clacton Urban District Council, now Tendring District Council, for almost 15 years.
He played more than 100 times each for Essex in indoor and outdoor matches.
Mr Mitchell-Gears added: “Only my wife could know beforehand and we are absolutely delighted,
“Our two children are coming down for a Fathers’ Day meal so it will be very nice to celebrate with them.”
Peter Halliday, a fellow trustee of Clacton Bowls Club, said: “David absolutely deserves this.
“Without men like David involved in bowls clubs like ours they would not exist.
“He works tirelessly, often behind the scenes and you don’t see it until something happens.
“As well as all that work he remains an avid bowler and a very good one at that.
“This is great news and is a just reward. He is not a young man but goes about with the enthusiasm of a teenager.”
Tony Allcock, Bowls England chief executive, added: “We are delighted David has been awarded this honour in recognition of the outstanding work he has undertaken, voluntarily, for the sport of bowls at club, county and national level for the past 40 years. There are very few who have given more to a single sport than David for such an extended period of time, and he continues to play an active role as chairman of the board.”