“A generation which ignores history has no past and no future” – Robert Heinlein.
Bowls in Canada has a lengthy history, with many clubs boasting existence of over 100 years. BCB has a much shorter history, as the national organization only incorporated in 1983 (prior to that there were separate men’s and women’s associations). Yet within that 37-year time-frame, the organization has seen many ups and downs, with numerous different volunteers and staff members coming and going over the years. One person who can help share the story of the national organization is past-president, Ian Tyzzer.
Tyzzer, born in Kidderminster, UK, in the county of Worcestershire, worked for the Hong Kong police force for 35 years. During his tenure in HK, Tyzzer was an experienced lawn bowler who represented the Hong Kong Police Lawn Bowls Club in numerous national competitions. In 2003, Tyzzer and his wife, Marlyn, made the move to Canada. The process to becoming a permanent citizen took nearly 7 years; a process Tyzzer is happy he won’t need to go through again.
As an avid bowler in Hong Kong, Tyzzer wanted to give back to the sport when he came to Canada. Settling down in south Surrey, British Columbia, Tyzzer joined Mann Park LBC. On his first day, he was appointed head coach for the club. While the club also tried to persuade him into becoming president, Tyzzer knew he would not be a good fit. Instead, he took the umpire course to become a trained umpire. As an umpire, this led Tyzzer to numerous clubs around BC, and eventually led to his appointment as BCB’s Chief Umpire in 2007.
As the Chief Umpire, Tyzzer was introduced to the national association, and met numerous Board members. When then-treasurer Bruno Lenarduzzi wished to step-down, Tyzzer was recruited to fill the role. “It was tricky for me to take on the role of treasurer for BCB”, says Tyzzer. “Bruno lived in Toronto, and could drive up to Ottawa to visit the national office frequently. I lived in BC, so I couldn’t visit the office nearly as much.” Despite the distance, Tyzzer still found a way to make it work, and remained the Treasurer for several years.
In 2012, Tyzzer took over as President for BCB, but that too came with its challenges. “BCB was updating its governance structure to comply with the Not-for-Profit act, which included a smaller skills-based Board of Directors and revised bylaws. During this critical period of time, both the Executive Director and the Treasurer resigned. It was a tough time to be the President!” Tyzzer stepped up to the plate and managed the duties of President, Treasurer, and Executive Director until replacements could be found. As fate would have it, Tyzzer’s hiring committee found a qualified candidate for Executive Director in 2013 – none other than Anna Mees, who is still the E.D. to this day.
Over the next few years, Tyzzer and Mees helped to rebuild BCB: from recruiting new staff members, to updating governance policies, to creating a strategic plan, and much, much more. A point of pride with Tyzzer was the ability to restore Sport Canada funding – “BCB lost our federal funding for a year due to increased standards in the area of High Performance. BCB was one of 25 organizations in this situation, but was one of the first to meet the higher compliance standards and get our funding restored.” With so much work to be done, Tyzzer stayed on as President for a second term – and is currently the only President to have done so. “I saw how much work needed to be done, and wanted to make sure the organization was heading in the right direction. I was able to comfortably finish my 2nd term as President in 2016 and step aside for new blood to lead the organization further.”
Since 2016, Tyzzer has still kept himself busy with other interests and hobbies. An avid bird-watcher, Tyzzer typically travels abroad to other countries on bird-watching expeditions. While at home, Tyzzer is the Secretary and Treasurer for his strata, an honourary life president of the Hong Kong Police Old Comrades Association (Canada) chapter, and family historian. An avid fan of old country music, Tyzzer also celebrated his 46th wedding anniversary in November 2020.
Due to several health concerns, Tyzzer has not been able to get back to bowling the way he had anticipated. Unsurprisingly, that hasn’t stopped Tyzzer from being involved at his club. Now a member of Richmond LBC, Tyzzer is a social member who assists with large club-functions. Whether it’s helping at the club level, the national level, or beyond (to this day, Tyzzer is listed as a “Pioneer” for the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association), Tyzzer’s dedication to bowls is like no other. “I have fond memories of the progress we made during my time as President, and I look forward to seeing what BCB can do to keep moving forward.”