Jim Naylor is the Bowls New Zealand Club Person of the Year – and it’s not hard to see why.
The popular award drew a large amount of entries, with the judging panel short listing no less than eight finalists.
But Naylor was the standout.
He has made a remarkable contribution to the Coopers Beach bowling club, and as President helped guide them through the precarious lockdown period.
But his overall effect on the Far North club in recent times has been staggering.
“We wouldn’t have anything like the club we have now without him,” says Secretary Carol Sell. “I’ve got no doubt that Jim has had the biggest impact on the club that anyone has ever had.”
Naylor is in his sixth year as club president and across that time has set a standard that few around the country could match.
The best example came in 2016 and 2017, when Naylor and another member worked every day to renovate the club rooms, building new toilets, installing a commercial kitchen and upgrading the bar.
“He gave up two years of his life for that,” says Sell. “He loves a project but it’s amazing what he can do and he didn’t charge the club a cent for his labour.”
Naylor has also been key to getting the club on a more even keel financially. They have been in the black every year during his tenure, after earlier periods marked by some losses.
“He has ensured the club is in a good financial position and because of that we were able to weather the lockdown without too much pressure,” says Sell.
The isolation period saw Naylor’s work ethic and commitment come to the fore.
He spent days installing the stock control system on the bar till, which entailed complex discussions with the software company, as the new system did not have an operating manual. He also produced a manual for future use.
During lockdown Naylor also lined the ceiling, improved the lighting, carpeted the floor and painted the walls, as well as going to the club each day to check the refrigeration and chillers were functioning properly.
Last summer Naylor installed a overhead projector and large screen. This has been a great boost for members, but also a bonus when the club is used for outside events.
Naylor also recently stepped in to run the bar – after the bar manager departed at short notice – and then trained the new person.
He holds coaching classes for new bowlers every second week, which has improved the confidence of players at the beginning of their careers.
Naylor is a regular at the club on Friday nights, when it becomes a hub for the local community, and has great empathy with the members.
Sell says the Naylor has the ideal approach as President and gets the best out of the committee.
“He has a calm nature and doesn’t get upset or agitated,” says Sell. “If you are given a job or a project he lets you get on with it and doesn’t interfere.”
Sell has also been constantly impressed by Naylor’s determination to find the best possible outcome for the club.
“He will always try to find the best deals,” says Sell. “He’ll spend hours on the computer comparing things. He’s always got the club’s interests at heart.”
Sell admitted she found it hard to encapsulate Naylor’s contribution into a few paragraphs, but she has no doubt about his legacy.
“Our members feel like we have the best club in the Far North and Jim has played a massive part in that,” says Sell. “It’s been amazing what he has done, and what he continues to do. We are lucky to have him.”
The other category finalists were Tony Fielding, Terry Moverley, Frederick Smith, Sue Wightman, Lesley Langer, Maurice Picard and Robyne Walker.
Congratulations to all finalists in the Bowls New Zealand Summerset Annual awards.