STILL BOWLING: Ballina's Norm Anderson, who turned 100 yesterday, is still bowling - and winning.
STILL BOWLING: Ballina's Norm Anderson, who turned 100 yesterday, is still bowling - and winning. Graham Broadhead

Born in a sulky, this bowler has edge over most

A LAWN edger might not be the first idea to spring to mind for a gift for a man turning 100.

But that's exactly what Ballina centenarian Norm Anderson, who turned 100 on November 29, asked for - and received.

And why not? He'd been using his old edger since 1975 so it was time for a new one to keep his lawns tidy.

He knows a bit about a tidy grass surface as he plays bowls weekly at the Cherry Street Sports Club.

And he's not too shy to tell you that he's still winning - while other bowlers described it more like "flogging everyone”.

Norm took up bowls on moving to Ballina in 1968, where he worked for what was then the Department of Main Roads for 15 years.

He's been using a bowling arm for about 15 years after suffering a back injury following a fall stepping off the green.

It was only last year that he stopped playing Pennants - and part of the reason is that he was asked to be skip, but his days of standing at the head and directing other bowlers is over. He prefers to be the lead bowler - and then sit down.

He says he loves the camaraderie of bowls - and the two schooners of XXXX Gold he enjoys at the end of each game, which he reckons is on the advice of his doctor.

But it's the hard work he did as a young man that Norm says has led to his longevity - both in life and on the greens.

Norm was born in a sulky on the side of the road near Lismore in 1916.

He grew up on the family farm in Nimbin, and went to school in the village which is now well known for a different type of "grass”.

He left school to work on the farm with his father and brothers before moving to a farm of his own, running dairy cattle and growing bananas.

He married his first wife, Lila, at age 23, and they had three children, George, Lionel and Denise.

He was secretary of the Nimbin branch of the Country Party and secretary of the Australian Primary Producers' Union from the 1940s through to the 1960s.

He also served on the Nimbin Agricultural Society for 10 years.

Lila died in 1988.

But another benefit of being involved in the Cherry Street Sports Club was meeting Phyllis, another bowler, in 1992. They married in 1998.

Norm says he will stay on the greens playing bowls while he is able.

And with his new edger, he'll be able to have his own tidy lawns at home, too.



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