Bowls match in honour of Burma veterans is revived

Moreton in Marsh bowlers Peggy and Tom Harrison and Brenda and Rod Dix receive the Burma Star Memorial Cup from Mrs Orchard

Moreton in Marsh bowlers Peggy and Tom Harrison and Brenda and Rod Dix receive the Burma Star Memorial Cup from Mrs Orchard

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A bowls tournament played in memory of Second World War veterans made an emotional comeback last Wednesday, after a gap of three years.

The Burma Star Memorial Cup competition was played at Adderbury in honour of former servicemen who served in the Burma Campaign between 1941 and 1945.

The cup was originally bought by the Burma Star Bowls Club, formed in the 1960s by local Burma veterans, and for many years it was played for by Banbury area bowls clubs.

But over time, the veterans became fewer in number and those remaining became too old and frail to organise the tournament, and the trophy was last competed for in 2012.

The cup was left in the safekeeping of Banbury Burma veteran Alan Orchard, himself a keen bowler who played for Banbury Central, Banbury Chestnuts and Burma Star.

When he died last year, aged 89, it was Mr Orchard’s wish that the bowls tournament should be reinstated, and his widow, Sheelagh, asked Adderbury Bowls Club if they would take on the organisation.

And the first renewal of the competition took place on the first anniversary of Mr Orchard’s death.

Eight clubs took part – Adderbury, Banbury Central, Banbury Borough, Bloxham, Woodford Halse, Middle Barton, Byfield and Moreton in Marsh. After a closely fought tournament, Moreton in Marsh received the trophy from Mrs Orchard.

Mrs Orchard said: “It has been a wonderful afternoon and Alan would have been so pleased to see his wish come true. I hope this tournament continues for many years to come and that it is a lasting tribute to all Burma veterans.”

The winning club also received £174, which it is donating to Help for Heroes.