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Stamford Indoor Bowls Club chairman Keith Rippin is awarded the Service of Merit accolade by the English Indoor Bowling Association

A Stamford bowls official has been recognised by the sport’s governing body with a ‘Service of Merit’ award – the highest honour it can give among thousands of volunteers who help administrate more than 270 indoor clubs in England.

Keith Rippin, chairman of Stamford IBC’s directors and management committee, is only the third recipient of the accolade.

He received it from Peter Thompson, chief executive of the English Indoor Bowling Association, at a surprise ceremony at the weekend just days after his 74th birthday.

Keith Rippin and Peter Thompson with directors and members of the Stamford IBC management committee.
Keith Rippin and Peter Thompson with directors and members of the Stamford IBC management committee.

Mr Rippin had been nominated by the club’s directors and management committee for his sterling work behind the scenes over more than a decade but the award came as a shock - midway through a coaching session he was taking at the club.

Mr Thompson revealed: “Stamford IBC was facing an uncertain future when Keith took over as chairman of directors and the management committee in 2010.

“It needed a creative hand on the tiller and he stepped up with selfless dedication to steer it through some troubled times.”

Under his enthusiasm and guidance, he added, the club has not looked back, despite the challenges that have been placed in its path, including a leaking roof, the demands of safety regulations during the pandemic and as grant instigator ensuring the club received its due financial support from local and national authorities, allied to Covid security.

As well as a level two coach and junior co-ordinator, the club in its nomination also pointed out that Keith annually organised a lucrative tournament for the club as part of the national singles circuit and with his wife Edna led a regular tour of members to the Potters resort.

He achieved his competitive goal in 2018 by skipping an Over 50s rink to the national Indoor championships at Nottingham, reaching the quarter-finals.

SIBA company secretary Ken McKellar commented: “Having worked alongside Keith on the Board since 2006, I believe his dilligence and overall concern for the future of the club, has been demonstrated in so many ways, none more so than during the pandemic when he has kept himself appraised of all opportunities for financial support, to ensure that the club will have a future. We are so lucky to have him.”

Richard White, chairman of Lincolnshire Indoor Bowling Association, also contributed to the nomination.

He said: “Every club requires a leader to take them forward in a pro-active and businesslike manner and, in Keith Rippin, Stamford IBC have that man.

“On and off the green, Keith has led by example, gathered a good team around him and put plans and policies in place to improve all levels of the club.

“His dedication and commitment is mirrored in the level of respect that Stamford IBC are now viewed by the County Association and its member clubs.”

After receiving the award, Mr Rippin commented: “This was a complete surprise. I know most of what is going on at the club but this has come out of the blue.

“It is a great honour to receive such an award but I could not have done any of it without the support of my wife Edna, of course, together with the backing of the directors and management committee who have been so supportive.”

The main job now, he said, is to encourage back to the club as many bowlers as possible, who have been absent during the pandemic and to give new ones a chance to try the support during our forthcoming recruitment drives.

For further information about the club’s activities visit the website which Keith Rippin also created at www.stamfordindoorbowls.co.uk

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