Lawn bowls champion and well-known Maclean woman Gwen Ford died last week, aged 80.
Lawn bowls champion and well-known Maclean woman Gwen Ford died last week, aged 80.

Remembering the Queen of the Green

MACLEAN is in mourning following the death of the Clarence Valley’s own Queen of the Green, Gwen Ford, last week.

She was 80 years of age.

A well-known identity both on and off the lawn bowls green, Mrs Ford was an accomplished and caring person who loved her family and her sport.

Following a cremation service, a memorial service was held for Mrs Ford at the St James Anglican Church in Maclean on Saturday.

There, her family shared their memories of Mrs Ford, including her sense of humour, her excellent cooking skills, her passion for gardening, and her deep commitment to her family.

Mrs Ford was also recognised for her competitive spirit. She was an amazing sportswoman and a champion bowler.

In fact she was still winning at the ripe young age of 80.

She was the holder of 22 club and district singles titles and until recently was playing bowls four times a week.

Mrs Ford was also awarded the Maclean Shire Council Australia Day Sportsperson of the Year award in 1986 and again in 2002.

She had numerous other sporting achievements, including a reputation as a competitive tennis player and also a very good softball player. She was one of the original members of the Lower Clarence Softball Club.

Being one of 12 children, Gwendoline Cecilia Apps was born on March 8, 1929, at the Maclean Truo Private Hospital and was raised in a farmhouse at Ashby by parents Freeman and Dorothy Apps.

Mrs Ford left school at the age of 15. She moved to Maclean two years later and while working at Archer’s Grocery store, she met and fell in love with the good-looking yet ‘cheeky’ Barney Ford.

They were married on June 12, 1948, in the Maclean Anglican Church.

The couple had three children – Christine, Robyn and Frederic – six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

The family home in Union Street, Maclean, was well-known as the central meeting place for the extended family for many years.

Gatherings for Christmas and Easter were reportedly enormous.

Mrs Ford dearly loved Barney and missed him greatly when he died in 2001.

“We all admired her for her independence. She would drive herself wherever she needed to go and she managed her own finances,” Teen (Christine) said of her late mum.

“Nan always had a smile on her face, a hug for the needy, food for the hungry and love for all,” said grandson Matt.

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