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Bowls Festival a Success 17 September 2004

The Department of Tourism and Leisure has congratulated organiser of the Isle of Man Bowls Festival Kieron McPartland for staging another two successful festivals in 2004.

Visiting participants in the September festival totalled 519, the highest entry since 1996. The event has been a fixture on the Island's calendar for 83 years this year. The Department supports each festival by providing the prizemoney, and the men's competition winner now receives £3,000 - the highest first prize in crown green bowling. Last week Ian Nicholson, from Cumbria, received the prize from Dominic Delaney MLC, Department of Tourism political member.

Tourism Minister David Cretney explained:

"Kieron's hard work and dedication has paid off. He has been involved with the bowls festival organisation for 16 years, when previous organiser Don Lyons asked him to help. Kieron became a fulltime assistant in 1992 and took over running the festival from Don in 2002. Kieron has continued Don's excellent work and is well respected by the Department, festival helpers and bowling fraternity and this is an opportunity to thank him publicly for his efforts."

The Isle of Man bowling festival was first held in 1921 and is now a twice yearly event. Next year the festivals will take place between June 13-17 and September 5-9. Earlier this month the Isle of Man welcomed 444 male competitors, including 55 local residents, and 163 ladies, of which 33 were locals. Visiting bowlers travel from all over the UK.

Many participants stay at the Hilton Hotel and Casino in Douglas. General Manager David Woodiwiss said:

"We have had the privilege of a close working relationship with the Special Events Unit of the DTL in relation to the bowling for a number of years now. We welcome the bowlers twice a year with smiles on our faces, as we have now built a rapport that is familiar with 'returning home'. Kieron and his team have done a wonderful job in ensuring that these events are popular and fun. Keep up the good work."

More information and entry forms are available for anyone interested in participating in next year's Isle of Man bowling festivals by contacting the Department of Tourism's Special Events Unit, TT Grandstand, Douglas IM2 4TB, or by phoning 01624 644644 or by emailing emma.walker@gov.im.

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