A 99-year-old woman could well lay claim to being the world’s oldest indoor bowls player.
Mary Walker, of Harlaxton, drives to Grantham Indoor Bowls Club on Trent Road several times a week to play and has a reputation among fellow club members for being very competitive.
The club believes Mary could be the oldest player in the world after hearing about the current record holder who plays in Spalding...at the age of 95.
But Mary, who joined the club 30 years ago when she retired from teaching, said: “I don’t know what all the fuss is about. I think I must be quite a bit older than the other players but I don’t feel old.”
Mary, who will turn 100 on August 3, has led a sporting life having cycled competitively and very successfully and was a member of Notts and Derbyshire Cycling Club. She also played cricket for Derbyshire. In her youth she learned to ride a motorcycle, but now sticks to four wheels.
She enjoys a regular game of cards as welGl as bowls. Mary said: “I love the game. It’s very competitive. I want to keep playing for as long as I can.”
The spritely player uses one of the heavier bowls to play - a size four Thomas Taylor - and the other secret of her success? Whiskey. She said: “I have a dram of whiskey every night.”
Mary is kept busy at the club, playing in morning, afternoon and ladies’ leagues. She is also president of the Harlaxton club.
Ladies’ captain Shirley Beardsley said: “Mary is a very competitive lady. She doesn’t like to lose! She plays bowls beautifully and puts us all to shame.”
But Mary is very gracious about all the attention and knows who really deserves to be a record holder. “My father should have been in the Guinness Book of Records. He fought in the Boer War, the First World War and with REME in the Second World War.”
It’s not every day you meet someone whose father fought in a war which broke out in 1899.