Genesis: Birth of a Region
East Midlands Region
The region was formed in Boston, Lincolnshire. Boston has an exchange visit of sports people etc with Laval in France which has existed for over 40 years. Through this exchange some people met the French sports people in a Public House called Burton Inn. Very soon the visitors brought out their boule, luckily a few people had boule, of some kind or another and play started on the car park. After this 3 teams of mixed pairs through the International Sports Committee of Boston visited Laval in July '73
On the return of these people a meeting was held for all those interested in Petanque at the Burton Inn, Boston at 8.00 p.m on the 13.8.73. The foundation was laid at this meeting and the Frogs Club le Petanque was formed, which was in turn to become one of the premier clubs in England. The friendship with Laval grew stronger and stronger.
In November 74 an article appeared in the Daily Mail about the formation of B.P.A. The correspondent was contacted and the address and telephone number of Sam's Hotel, Shedfield, Southampton was obtained. Contact was made and the Frog entered the 1st British National Championship of Petanque on 11-12 April '75 at Sam's Hotel.
The 3rd B.P.A. National Championship in 1977 was held at the Burton Inn. The competition was won by a team from the Frogs (Shrivastara - Thacky - Watson) who went on and represented G.B. in Luxemburgh.
In November 78 an application was made to the B.P.A. to approve Regional Status to E.M.R. This was given approval on 19.1.79. A meeting of the member clubs was held under the chairmanship of Mr. G. Hiles, National President.
It was back in 1983, that the East Midland Regional Officers who were all based in Boston, suggested that with Leicestershire becoming bigger and stronger that people in that area should take over the running of the Region. Robert Holmes agreed to be treasurer but Bernard North and myself could not decide. So in the car park of the Dog & Gun we tossed a coin. Bernard won (or was it lost) and became President and I took on the task of Regional Secretary. I was elected President in 1987 and continued in that role until 1991 when I became a National Vice President.
We may not have always played well enough to win much in those years, but me of the best times I can remember were the first Inter Regional matches in Poole. Selection? Not the first year. It was along to the South Croxton weekend on Monday afternoon to see who was available to play in Poole the following weekend. We made it. We lost but the hotel thanked the East Midlands for their presents at the bar. Then the Vinny Swan (now sadly deceased) turned to Tim Kirkpatrick and said, "If you threw your ball in the harbour, you'd miss!"
Looking back I have to admit that perhaps some of the fun has gone out of our Sport. Sunday club competitions aren't what they used to be. We have grown and we are becoming more competitive, with more and more big national competitions to go in for. But there is room for both and I hope the next 10 years will see as big a growth as I saw. It is a sport anyone can play. We have a good base so let's make sure we keep pushing ahead in promoting the game and enjoying ourselves.
From the BPA journal, Pétanque News, October 1995 - by Bob Herrick (?)
Reproduced from material provided by Val Lewis