Big year for Dereham bowler

Dereham's Derek Talbot is relishing his role leading Norfolk's 2,000-strong army of outdoor bowls players in a season of celebration.

Sponsored for the ninth year in a row by Hansells Solicitors and Financial Advisers, the Norfolk County EBA Association is 75 years old this year.

Both association president Mr Talbot and Hansells' managing partner Roger Holden are delighted to be working together in such an important year.

'It's a great honour to be president for this anniversary season,' said Mr Talbot. 'It is going to be a very busy year – I have 63 games in my diary, as well as many other events.'

The backing given by Hansells as sponsors of the association, the Hansells Norfolk League and the Hansells Cup competition was 'fantastic'.

'Financially Hansells provides a lifeline. They also take a great interest by attending games and social events, making presentations and helping with publicity. Their support is hugely important to us.'

The anniversary brings several special games and the publication of a new booklet.

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Paid for by Hansells, The First 75 Years 1936-2011 charts the history of bowls in the county and details the long, distinguished record of the county's players locally, nationally and internationally.

One of the highlights of 2011 will be a game in the grounds of Windsor Castle against the Royal Household Bowling Club on 17 July.

There will be an anniversary game for the county against Bowls England.

Mr Holden said he anticipated an exciting year and was very pleased he and his firm were to be a part of such a milestone season.

'Bowls has been a key part of Norfolk community life for so long. That the game is still as popular and strong after all these years, with so many active members, is a tribute to all the hidden heroes who work so hard behind the scenes.'

Mr Holden said he was looking forward to meeting many of the county's bowls players at competitions, events and the end-of-season presentation lunch.

'I wish all Norfolk's bowls players an enjoyable season — and the best of luck in bringing silverware back to the county.'

Last week Mr Talbot led a 32-strong party on an Anglo-Welsh tour, with county games against Monmouthshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire and club games against Tewkesbury, Abergavenny and St Martin's (Hereford). They had a packed social programme too.

Mr Talbot, who was county match secretary for 20 years, settled in Norfolk in 1973 when his last tour of duty as an RAF aircraft engine fitter saw him posted to Swanton Morley.

He then had a 20-year career with Norfolk County Council Highways Department, running the stores at depots at Gressenhall, then Watton, followed by Hethersett. He lives at Etling Green.

A father of five and grandfather of eight, Mr Talbot has always played his club bowls in the Dereham area, at Shipdham, Dereham Private and, for the last 10 years, with the Aldiss Park Bowls Club. Essex-born, Mr Talbot is also a keen angler.