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At our AGM in November 2018, Derek Forsythe was elected as an Honorary Member of the NIPGBL. After initially becoming involved in bowls through his local church in 1961, Derek was a member of 13th Old Boys for 2 years before joining Belfast BC, where he quickly assumed a role in administration as the club’s Match Secretary and as a delegate to the NIPGBL Management Committee. The 1988 season saw Derek move to his current club NICS with whom he won the IBA Senior Cup in 1998 and the NIPGBL Senior Division One in 2004. He also won the UK Civil Service International Fours in 1988 and 2017 and the Triples in 2000.
The esteem in which he is held within Civil Service bowls and sport is confirmed by his 2000 award of the Ann Lewis Trophy for his outstanding contribution to UK Civil Service bowls and by the award of the Sports Club Personality of the Year for 2013 from the NICS Sports Association.
As well as 10 years as Secretary of NICS, where he was President in 2002, Derek has been Assistant Secretary of the NIPGBL and IBA and has been Treasurer of the NIPGBL since 2009. Having been NIPGBL President in 2012, he was elected IBA President in 2017, a role to which he dedicated himself in an unprecedented manner, accumulating over 11,200 miles of travel and a remarkable total of 200 events as he fulfilled his personal objective to visit all 124 clubs affiliated to the IBA.
The experience of leading out the Irish team at the Senior and Junior international series and his integral role in the NIPGBL Centenary celebrations in the same year provided Derek with ‘wonderful memories that will remain with me for ever.’
Looking forward Derek hopes that the admission of lady bowlers to League and Cup competitions will help to redress the current decline in overall membership. He is also keen to encourage a new generation of bowlers to become involved and bring new ideas to administrative roles.
‘All I ever wanted was to put something back into the game of bowls that I have got so much out of and made so many friends. Perhaps somebody reading this will think the same.’