Bob Christie awarded MBE in New Year Honours List

Bowls Scotland would like to congratulate Bob Christie after being acknowledged in the New Year Honours List to receive an MBE for his many years of service to lawn bowls.

Bob’s bowling career began in 1987 when he was invited by a work colleague to make up a pair to compete in the Tayside Police Championships. From here, Bob decided to take up the sport and joined his local club, Parkview Bowling Club. He quickly progressed through the ranks by claiming victories in various club and county competitions, and eventually went on to represent Scotland in the 1995 Senior Home International Series, the proudest moment of his accomplished playing career.

After achieving international honours, Bob became interested in the administrative side of the sport and spent over two decades volunteering on his club committee. In 2008, Bob was elected to represent the Angus and Dundee area as a District Co-Ordinator (formerly District Secretary), a role he carried out with distinction until 2021. He took great pleasure in running successful qualifiers and seeing local players going on to achieve their dreams by becoming Scottish champions.

When Bowls Scotland was formed in 2011, Bob was elected by other District Co-Ordinators to form part of the Board of Directors. Eventually taking on the Director of Development role, Bob oversaw the reconstruction of the Bowls Scotland coaching qualifications as well as the launch of the Try Bowls and BowlsMark national development programmes for clubs.

It was around this time that Bob then found his true sporting passion, coaching. After completing his qualifications, Bob became a coach for the North Bowls Scotland Regional Academy, which gave him tremendous amounts of satisfaction in helping to develop the next generation of rising stars. After spending two years as a Regional Academy Coach, Bob was then asked to assist with coaching Scottish Disability Sport’s international para bowlers.

Following a challenging 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games for Scotland’s para bowlers, Bob took on the role of Bowls Scotland’s Para Bowls Co-Ordinator in 2019. He was tasked with creating individual athlete development plans to ensure a higher level of performance going forward and worked closely alongside David Gourlay MBE, the then mainstream High Performance Head Coach.

After a few years working with the team and developing together as players and coaches, Bob was ready to lead Scotland’s para bowlers into his first major event as Para Head Coach, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Every nations preparations for the Games had been hampered due to the ongoing restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Bob had ensured Scotland’s players were best prepared as they possibly could be through organising competitive matches against various club teams throughout the country and ensuring each player was supported with 1-2-1 training sessions.

These meticulous preparations aided Scotland’s para bowlers to unprecedented success as the team of Garry Brown, Kevin Wallace, Rosemary Lenton, Pauline Wilson, Melanie Inness, Robert Barr, George Miller and Sarah Jane Ewing historically went on to win three out of three gold medals in their respective para disciplines.

Bob’s passion for coaching didn’t just stop at developing already established international players, he has also been responsible for welcoming a series of new players to the sport at grassroots level. Throughout the years, Bob has attended various schools in the Angus and Dundee area to run Try Bowls events and supported numerous first-time bowlers at disability sports sessions. Thanks to Bob’s hard work and dedication the number of active classified bowlers with a disability in Scotland has more than doubled over the last five years.

In December 2023, Bob took the difficult decision to step down from his role as Para Bowls Co-Ordinator and Para Head Coach to spend more time with his family. Despite this, Bob will still be involved in the sport on the administrative side through his role as Chair of Bowls Europe. On the playing front, he still has ambitions of qualifying for the National Championships at Ayr in the coming years. Whatever the future holds, Bob will have certainly left a long-lasting legacy within Scottish bowls.

Delighted to be receiving an MBE, Bob said: “I was completely surprised and excited when the letter dropped through the door. You never expect anything like this to happen and to receive an honour for being involved in a sport that I have thoroughly enjoyed for a number of years.

“It is fantastic recognition not only for myself but the para element of the sport and a great way of rounding off the last year.”

Paying tribute to Bob’s years of dedication, Bowls Scotland Chair, Kim Walker, added: “Bob is highly deserving of this honour. He has been a huge ambassador for bowling and in particular he has inspired and supported many disabled bowlers.

“This is worthy recognition for the passion, commitment and enthusiasm that he has demonstrated for our sport.”

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