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St. Margarets Co-operative Bowling Club



Lol Mounteney, Cyril Berrill, Mick Brookes, Alan Pick, Steve Rawnsley and Bill Williams, all members of St. Margaret’s Co-operative Bowls Club, in Birstall, have broken the Guinness World Record for non-stop bowling.

The group took to the green at noon on Thursday June 17th 2004 and didn’t step off it until 8 am on Sunday June 20th, 68 hours later.

The Club contacted the Guinness Book of Records and registered our challenge after finding the information on the Guinness World Records website. The original record was set by Horley Bowling Club in 1999, but it has been beaten several times since then and the old record, on June 17th 2004, stood at 54.5 hours and was set by Lloyds’s Hotel Bowls Club, in Manchester, earlier this year.

The six bowlers formed two teams of three and played a pairs game. Two from each team bowled and one rested. They changed every hour with the skip coming off, the lead going to skip and the resting player going to play lead. This helped to maintain concentration.

At all times during the marathon attempt, two independent witnesses were present to ensure that the rules of the record attempt were adhered to and to record the progress in the log book. Also, a medically qualified person was on hand at all times. These three people were not allowed to be on duty for more than 4 hours at a time so during the event we used 27 witnesses and 12 nurses.

In total the group bowled 9,696 bowls in 606 ends. They rolled the bowls 170 miles, walked 14 miles each and lifted a total of 2.5 tonnes each.

They were spurred on by two cabaret shows, two visiting Bowls Clubs playing matches, E.B.A. Senior Vice President John Tolley playing a few ends, a car boot sale, a balloon race and a festival atmosphere created by other members of the Club.

The group raised £7,000 whilst breaking the record. The money has been donated equally between the Leicester Royal Infirmary Neo Natal Hearing Unit, the Glenfield Hospital Cardiology Unit and Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Headway, which treats people with brain injuries.

We would like to thank ALL of our supporters, friends and sponsors for backing the record attempt, without you it would have been impossible.



Some thoughts. (By Lol Mounteney)


“It has been a great experience and we are all proud to have done it. When we decided to break the record, it was set at 48 hours but was broken another five times before we started our attempt, so the target was going up all the time.”

“I was very confident of breaking the record when we started, not just because I had great faith in the other five bowlers, who I know were 100% committed to the attempt, but because of the fantastic enthusiasm and support we were to receive from our Club.”

This enthusiasm was apparent from the first day I mentioned the record to the members well over a year before the start date. We had numerous ‘Marathon meetings’ sometimes attended by upwards of 30 people. Everyone helped with the format of what turned out to be a fantastic weekend. The Guinness rules are cast in stone, but 3 days and nights of witnesses, nurses, entertainment, catering, bar staff, bowling and resting arrangements were undertaken with what might be termed a ‘Dunkirk Spirit’. Not only was it well organised but everything went according to plan during the weekend.

During the weekend I didn’t sleep much. I felt very tired towards the end, not sleepy just weary. Some of the things I remember were: listening to a fox barking in the woods behind the houses on the first night, then wondering where it had gone to on the other nights. The children from The Co-op’s Rainbow Playgroup who came to wish us well. A lone visitor who was passing by at 3 o’clock in the morning and was inquisitive enough to come and see what we were doing – we got a fiver off him! Bowling on a frozen green during Friday night, weird, though what a relief when the sun came up with the dawn and warmed us all. Playing through as Richard Shepherd cut the grass on Saturday morning. I felt as though I was somewhere else at times, another green, and thinking how nice and friendly it was – must come here again. Just shows what a lack of sleep does to you. One of the best moments for me was 6.30 pm Saturday night. This was my own personal target as it was the time we equalled the existing record, every minute beyond that was increasing the record. But to have this moment celebrated with so many others was a special moment for me. Most of the Westcotes bowlers, who had played the afternoon match, had stayed behind, some of our own bowlers raced back from the away fixture to be with us plus a great number of supporters made the celebration possibly the best part of the attempt for me. Other things to recall were the enthusiasm of the witnesses and nurses during the nights and the very competitive bowling that we kept going throughout the whole record attempt.

Originally we had planned to finish at 6 pm on the Sunday which would have had us posting a record of 78 hours, but all things can change, especially when the health of our bowlers come into it. We all had blistered feet and without mentioning names there were aches and pains, a mental problem and exhaustion being experienced by us all. After a brief discussion it was agreed to call of the attempt at 8 am on Sunday 20th June. It was a very emotional moment for all concerned. This set a new record of 68 hours, which we hoped, was enough.

What a relief we all felt when it was over, we had breakfast and had a walk round the Car Boot sale, then went home for a well earned bath and a change of clothing. We were all back at the ground by Noon for a beer and plenty of praise from all who had started to arrive expecting to see us still bowling. The day continued as planned with a Sunday Lunch for 100 people after the Car Boot sale had finished. During the afternoon more supporters arrived, including some County bowlers and we had a ‘Corner to Corner’ game for a bottle of whisky which lasted for a couple of hours. Rob entertained us with his singing and a disco and we blew the 1000 balloons up for the ‘Balloon Race’.

At 6 pm the balloons were released. It was a spectacular sight as they went of towards the East, some getting stuck in the hedge before being freed to continue their journey. The furthest reached the North Norfolk coast. We then went inside where a packed Clubhouse witnessed the draw of the Raffle. 38 prizes were drawn, the top prize being a fortnight’s holiday for two to Goa. After a couple more drinks we all drifted away by about 9 pm. I slept until lunchtime the next day, very nice it was too.

It was a simple task to collate all of the evidence required by Guinness and the claim was dispatched. We organised a celebration party and once again a packed Clubhouse helped us to celebrate the new record. Unfortunately confirmation was not available at that time and it was a long anxious wait until we finally received the certificate on Saturday 1st December.

It was a really fantastic time for us all, but one thing is for sure, none of us will be attempting the record again!!

                                      Lol Mounteney

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