Co-op’s Wildcard Bowls Comp gives members chance to play champs for charity

13 July 2016

Co-op Funeralcare has launched a brand new bowls competition, where Co-op members can compete for the chance to play against the top 16 bowlers in the world.

The Wildcard Bowls competition offers members and colleagues throughout the UK the chance to pit their skills against one another in a series of regional play-offs across Stirling, Stanley, Blackpool, Ely, Bristol and London.

The competition is free to enter, but winners of the ballot will be required to make a minimum donation of £10 to the British Red Cross in order to secure their place, when they register online. This is in support of the Co-op and British Red Cross partnership to tackle loneliness and isolation across the UK.  

From those who enter the competition, 48 people will be selected by ballot for each of the six play-offs, with the overall winner taking a wildcard place at the Scottish International Championships in November later this year.

The regional play-offs will be held across the 3rd and 4th of September. The winners from these heats will go head-to-head on 2nd October to find the wildcard entry. Co-op Funeralcare will arrange travel and accommodation for the winners of the six regional play-offs, as well as for the overall winner to travel to Perth, Scotland, in the first week of November, where the Scottish International Championships will be held.

The winner will play against well-known bowlers such as last year’s Scottish International champion Greg Harlow, and Nicky Brett, who is currently ranked first in the world.

Lesley van Dyk, Community Support Manager for Co-op Funeralcare, commented:

This wildcard competition is totally different from anything we’ve done before. We’ve always been hugely supportive of the bowling world, and we’re so excited to be able to bring this opportunity to our members.

We would urge anyone with a passion for bowls to get involved, as they could be the Scottish International Champion.

The competition will help to raise funds for Co-op’s partnerhsip charity, the British Red Cross, in their bid to raise £3.5 million to tackle loneliness and social isolation in communities across the UK. The money raised will help the British Red Cross to provide vital care and support for thousands of isolated and lonely people nationwide. 

Research by the Co-op indicates millions of people find it difficult to admit they feel lonely, and the partnership will enable thousands of vulnerable people to be reached. These findings build on the experiences of British Red Cross staff and volunteers already delivering over 200 local independent living schemes giving practical and emotional support to vulnerable people across the UK.

Community Fundraising Manager at British Red Cross, Kerry Thomas, said:

Fundraising activities like these are essential for the British Red Cross, as they help us to reach more people throughout the UK who are in need. Loneliness is an increasingly complex issue that impacts upon people's wellbeing and health, affecting millions of people in our society.  The money raised by the Wildcard Bowls competition will certainly go towards some very deserving people across the UK.

Co-op members who are interested in taking part can register at by the 31st July. Non Co-op members can sign up here

Registration closes on 31st July, so head over to the British Red Cross site and sign up now.



Notes to Editors:
For further information please contact:
Caroline Canty: / 0161 767 6477
Emily Dalton: / 0161 767 4323

About Co-op Funeralcare:
Co-op Funeralcare is the UK’s leading funeral director and part of the Co-op Group, the UK’s largest co-op business, whose purpose is “Championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities.” Further information is available at:

The Co-op, which is the UK’s largest co-operative business with interests across food, funerals, insurance and legal services, has a clear purpose of championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities. Owned by millions of UK consumers, the Co-op operates a total of 3,750 outlets, with more than 70,000 employees and an annual turnover of approximately £11 billion.

About the partnership:
The Co-op and British Red Cross have launched an exciting and innovative partnership to highlight and tackle loneliness and social isolation in communities across the UK.

Loneliness is a massive, increasing but yet under-recognised crisis, adversely impacting the lives of millions in our society - shortening lives and eroding health and wellbeing. The Co-op Group and British Red Cross are working together to create solutions for this seminal problem of our time and so that the voices of people experiencing loneliness are heard - campaigning for change and touching individual lives by providing vital care and support for thousands of people experiencing loneliness, helping them reconnect with their communities.

We are undertaking research that will inform the services funded by the money raised by Co-op colleagues, members and customers and the ways in which we respond through our joint campaign.