THE whole local bowling community was shocked to hear of the sudden death of Stephen Pickles at the age of 69.

He had suffered sometime from a debilitating illness but there was still sadness at his passing last week.

Over the past few years, he had bravely tried to carry on playing and to set a standard he had been used to at the height of his career but it was not to be.

He was without doubt one of the best players ever from this area and a popular figure on the local bowling scene. Our condolences go to all his family.

His career started as a young lad playing in Oakworth Park where his late father was the park-attendant.

It was obvious from these early days that Pickles had a great deal of talent and he was soon on the club’s first team in the old Keighley League and the Worth Valley League which the club joined in 1966.

His career took off when the Worth Valley League joined the Yorkshire Parks Bowling Association, where he became a life member in due course, and he soon gained County honours and represented the area in Inter-City events, an event he really enjoyed.

He played in the Skipton League for Oakworth but it was in the Worth Valley events where he had many successes in their competitions over several seasons. This continued when he moved to Cross Roads.

His major success came in the Yorkshire Parks Merit when he took the title in 2004 defeating Chris Mordue at Rufford Park and he achieved much more further afield and enjoyed bowling trips to the Isle of Man and other bowling festivals.

He also played for a variety of other local clubs at all levels and although he was handicapped with illness in recent years, he remained a well-liked figure on the circuit.