Obituary: Marion Halliday, 73

A sizeable haul for bowler Marion Halliday, left. Picture: TSPL

A sizeable haul for bowler Marion Halliday, left. Picture: TSPL

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Tributes have been paid to a bowler who became an “iconic figure” in the sport throughout the Lothians.

The passing of Marion Halliday, 73, from Linlithgow, has caused waves of sadness through the bowls clubs of West Lothian and beyond.

She was a major figure in the world of bowls and was at the height of her powers and fame during the 1970s and 80s, but such was her talent that her last major title success came in 2001.

Marion is survived by her husband, Jimmy Halliday, daughters Margaret, Elizabeth and Linda, and son Scott.

The youngest of eight, she was born Marion Drummond in Jubilee Road, Whitburn, on Saturday, July 13, 1940 and married her husband in 1959.

Her bowling pedigree and love of the sport came from her father, who was a greenkeeper at Whitburn Bowling Club, while older siblings, Meg and Jimmy, were both already prominent figures in the sport.

Bert Gamble, the former depute leader of West Lothian Council and one-time convener of leisure and recreation, said: “Marion became an iconic figure in bowls and a great ambassador for Whitburn and West Lothian as she brought fame, honour and good publicity to both banners with the prowess of her achievements.”

Marion achieved the title “Queen of Balgreen” as she captured the coveted crown of Edinburgh Open Singles champion on a record four separate occasions.

Her first title success came in 1976 and she successfully retained the crown the following year in 1977. Marion then completed another set of back-to-back wins in 1983 and 1984.

Over the years she also swept the board at her own Whitburn club competition, becoming ladies champion a record 22 times.

Her other successes include three times County Singles Champion, a Scottish Fours title, a County Triples title and she was also a National Coal Board Singles champion for three years running.

She deservedly and proudly pulled on the Scotland international blazer many times between 1975 and 1985.

Her greatest achievement on the UK scene was reaching the last two of the National Singles Championship in 1974 and 1989.

The Halliday household mantelpiece wasn’t only straining under the weight of Marion’s trophies, as her proudest moment came in 1976 when she cheered husband Jimmy and Whitburn Bowling Club to first the Scottish then the British Isles titles in the Triples competition.

She also served her club as lady president on 12 occasions and was instrumental in the formation of the West Lothian Ladies Bowling Association in 1983.

Marion’s most recent title glory came in 2001 when she became the inaugural winner and Blue Blazer champion of the West Lothian Classic.