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Get the bowls rolling in Great Yarmouth

Great Yarmouth Festival of Bowls

Great Yarmouth Festival of Bowls, the biggest outdoor open bowling event in the country, will return to Great Yarmouth seafront next week, with some 1,100 bowlers competing over four weeks.

Organised by Great Yarmouth Borough Council and managed by bowls stalwart Derek Webster and the Festival of Bowls Committee, this year’s festival will take place on the Britannia Bowling Greens between Sunday, August 26 and Friday, September 21.

Attracting novice and expert players of all ages from across the UK and further afield, the annual festival is free to watch, with participants competing in men's, ladies’ and mixed teams for singles, pairs, triples and fours titles.

This is also a big year personally for Derek, who steps down after 25 years as tournament manager: a key role which involves managing the competition during the period of play, in addition to signing up players, sponsors and advertisers in advance.

He said: “I’ve always said that Great Yarmouth seafront is the best bowls venue in the country – the atmosphere and setting is fantastic, and people come back every year to see the high standard of play and meet old friends. This year, we even have players from as far as Queensland, Australia and Tenerife, who are visiting Great Yarmouth.

“I’m nearly 85 years old now, so it’s time for somebody else to have a go as tournament manager. It’s been great, and I’ve always had a good team behind me. I’ve been very, very fortunate to always work with a good team of people who do a good job.”

Cllr Barry Coleman, chairman of the council’s economic development committee, said: “The festival is free to watch and attracts hundreds of players from all over, who stay in our hotels and guest houses, eat in our restaurants, visit our other attractions and really boost the economy. It’s also a great attraction for local residents too.

“Having the biggest outdoor open bowling event in Great Yarmouth is a great accolade, something to be proud of, and I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the sponsors, the volunteers on the Festival of Bowls Committee, and thank Derek Webster personally for his 25 years of service.”

The new sponsors in 2018 are Simpsons Skoda Great Yarmouth, Thompsons Food Services, Sentinel Leisure Trust and the Fish and Grill. They join the existing sponsors Potters Bowls Shop, The Beach Terrace Café, Great Yarmouth Independent Newagents, Pub on the Prom, Ocean Spray, Eastern Daily Press, Brewers Chip Shop Saloon and Astro Communications.