For 19 years the Edendale Bowling Club has been near and dear to Des Herbert’s heart.
Now he has been made a life member of the club.
Herbert’s daughter Leigh Waddell said the club meant the world to her father.
“He really, really loves bowls and the club,” she said.
His father-in-law Allan Lee and club member Nat Bloxham were responsible for introducing him to the sport he now could not live without.
Since 2000 Herbert has held several roles with the club including player, coach, mentor, bar manager and green keeper.
When the club’s numbers were dwindling, Herbert helped with its resurgence.
“He was actively involved in getting around and getting people together to get them into the club.”
He suffered some health problems in recent years but nothing could keep him away from playing.
“Bowls has really kept him active – he’s a very, very competitive man,” Waddell said.
He travelled to Invercargill during the winter to continue his game when the Edendale green shut down.
Being a coach and mentor to up and coming players was something he relished, she said.
“He’s still helping out with them and still getting new ones in to play all the time.”
Club President David Thwaites said Herbert fostered players to help improve their skills and install competitiveness for tournaments.
“He actively sought new bowlers for our club, coaching and encouraging them to play in tournaments throughout Southland, West Otago, South Otago and Central Otago.”
Herbert spent years keeping the club’s green in pristine condition and rallied players for the club, he said.
“He has given up thousands of hours to our cause – because of this commitment our green is one of the better greens in Southland.”
Everyone who came in contact with Herbert had a story to share about him both on and off the green, he said.
“That is because Des always made the game enjoyable, which meant we would all come back for more.
“Des [is] fiercely competitive but always fair.”