Roger Parsons – November 2021

Thanks to Richard Dray for putting together this ‘life story’. Our subject this time is: Roger Parsons.

Roger was born in 1939, an only child brought up Titchfield, Hampshire. He later lived in Porchester and Park Gate for 14 and 6 years respectively.

Roger is married to Ann whom he met in a coffee shop in Melksham in 1959. They have been married for 57 years and lived in Rustington for for the last 40 years. Their daughter Teresa has given them 3 grandchildren (all boys).

He attended Park Gate Junior school during the war where he gained his nickname “Podgy Parsnips” which stuck with him for many years. His greatest memory of his time at Junior school was the Anderson  shelter which was part of his classroom! He then went on to Fareham Secondary Modern and left with no qualifications, he did not attend university.

He started work aged 15 on his father’s farm (the job lasted for 1 week before they fell out) and became an apprentice plumber. He did this  for 5 years until aged 20.

From here he carried out his national service for the standard 2 years as an electrician in the RAF completing an intensive 9 week course (seven days a week). He was stationed at RAF Melksham and Hullavington.

He has worked for several companies such as Oil Burner Services,  Associated British Combustion and then Eschman’s, a job which took him to Iran for a period where he was working in hospital operating theatres. This work later took him all over the world.

Some fun facts about Roger –

  • He is Gluten free – not sure if you know that!
  • During the War he was brought up on Goats Milk and when at school  drank the other kids milk as well.
  • Never drinks water
  • The Parsons were one of the first families to open a farm shop
  • Was the only visiting supporter in the ‘away’ end at a Nottingham Forest v Brighton match in November 1979. Brighton won 1-0. The Brighton supporters train was topped on route by police.
  • He met Brian Clough in a Nottingham hotel before this game who gave him 2 tickets for the  match. Roger was in Nottingham training an Iranian (for work) and the ‘trainee’ out of the blue said come and meet a friend of mine his names Brian (it was Cloughie). It turned out that he knew Cloughie when he was playing for the Iranian national team
  • A Portsmouth supporter – and as a youngster when the War was over he went to every home and away game for 5 years with his Dad
  • He loves all animals
  • He had an altercation with Big Pat Graysmark on tour in 2005, there was only one winner. It  wasn’t Roger!
  • He is a very keen member of the RSPB and is a volunteer warden working on the Reserve at  Pulborough showing many people round to see the wildlife.
  • He is an avid stamp collector
  • King Farouk of Egypt once sent a quantity of match box labels following Roger’s written request
  • Whilst in Australia he was taught how to throw a toy Kangaroo over a chair into a bucket by  former World Champion bowler Kelvin Kerkow
  • Supplied strawberries to Hilton Park Lane at £1.00 each, The Queen Mary and                         HMS Collingwood
  • Nearly got stuck in Kosova (he couldn’t pay his bill) – the UN had banned the use of credit cards

Roger has been on the West Sussex Bowls circuit for many years having been a member of Norfolk Bowling Club for 37 years He has held many posts at the Norfolk club including President for 7 years, a committee member for 32 years and an SCBA delegate for 10 years – some commitment! He was very complimentary of our secretary Mr Rolph who was his skip in his first game for Norfolk Bowling Club and apparently taught him how to play bowls!!!!

He was a member of Arun indoor for 19 years and also ran the  Littlehampton Open Tournament (now defunct) for 5 years

Roger joined the Tourists in 2000 and was elected an Honorary Life Vice  President in 2020. He hasn’t yet been presented with his certificate due to Covid cancelling the 2020 AGM (he will receive it at the 2021 meeting in November). He has toured on 11 occasions, supports the club in many ways and was tour champion in 2016 – an achievement he is very proud of.

Roger was one of the main organisers of a Bowls Tour to Australia for a  club called the Nomads on 2 occasions – one of the first tours, if not the very first of a British team touring Australia.

It was a really interesting conversation with Roger and I am sure you will agree his service to the  bowling world is worth recording and celebrating.