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Tributes to Yarmouth teacher and football chaplain

Tributes have been paid to Reverend Arthur Bowles, retired teacher and former chaplain of Norwich City FC and Great Yarmouth Town FC, who died of a heart attack on January 19 at the age of 84.

Rev Bowles was born in January 1936 in Martham to parents Annie and Leonard and he had one sister, Avis Higg. When he was nine years old, the family moved to Great Yarmouth, where Arthur attended Greenacre School, then Great Yarmouth Technical High School. He was among the first group of students to take A levels there. He played football for several local clubs.
Arthur went straight from school to a spell of National Service with the RAF, then on to Loughborough University, where he studied P.E. and Maths. He also took part in several games as an amateur for Arsenal, playing at Highbury Stadium, but never signed up as a professional.
After graduation, he married his fiancée Margaret and began teaching at his old school, now renamed Oriel Grammar School and housed in a new building in Gorleston. While at the school, Arthur managed football and basketball teams and enjoyed working with colleagues who were once his teachers. He and Margaret had two children together - Stephen and Cheryl.
In 1970 Arthur was manager of the team representing Great Yarmouth in that year's TV gameshow 'It's a Knockout', and after two sets of televised games, his squad of teenage boys and girls won the chance to represent England in the European round of the competition in Berlin, making it through to the final, held in the Italian city of Verona. They came fifth overall and earned £300 for the town.
In 1975, Arthur left his teaching post and attended Reading University for a year to gain a diploma in counselling in education, which led to an appointment in Norwich at a centre for teenagers who had been taken out of school. His final job in education was deputy head teacher at North Denes Primary.
Arthur retired from teaching in 1989 owing to osteoarthritis, and eventually had both hips and knees replaced. The following year, he was put forward by Great Yarmouth FC rector, Rev Michael Woods, for training to become a non-stipendiary priest, a position to assist the paid clergy.
After three years, he was priested in Norwich Cathedral and then shared a chaplaincy at Norwich City FC with Rev Bert Cadmore. Arthur would visit the club training ground every Friday with Bert, talking with players over lunch, and attending every home game. He later became chaplain of Great Yarmouth FC and spent many happy hours there with the local people he knew.
Rev Bowles is survived by his wife, two children, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
This is an extract from the obituary published in the Eastern Daily Press.

The photo of Arthur Bowles, top, was submitted to the EDP.


Tony Rothe, 02/02/2021

Published: 02/02/2021
Tony Rothe