of the World Indoor Bowls Championships at Potters Resort
Bringing the tournament to Norfolk was the brainchild of Potters Resort’s chairman and tourism innovator Brian Potter MBE, who passed away in November 2014.
Trying to think of a way to encourage people to come to Potters midweek and all year round, he had his ‘Eureka moment’ one day and developed the winning idea of offering bowls breaks.
Initially, Brian and his wife, Judy, invested in two bowls rinks and the idea quickly took off. A further six long-mat bowls rinks and a large indoor sports hall suitable for a wide range of activities soon followed. But Potters midweek bowling breaks became so successful that eight rinks weren’t enough to satisfy the growing demand. In the mid-1990s, Brian approached the World Bowls Council and asked if they would consider moving the World Indoor Bowls Championships from Preston if Potters built a new facility.
Despite an initial negative response, Brian and Judy felt strongly that there was a real opportunity to be taken, and in 1997 started work on a six-rink international standard stadium – a total investment of £2.5m.
The stadium officially opened in 1998 when Potters hosted the national England Ladies’ Championships.
The event was a great success and when the World Bowls Council saw the facility in action they moved the championships to Hopton the following year.
Brian’s son and Potters Resort managing director John Potter has ensured the continuing association between the resort and indoor bowls’ flagship event. It continues to invest heavily in a vast range of other sporting and leisure facilities.