A MUCH-LOVED resident has been honoured for his years of dedication to the community and the sport he was most passionate about.
Les Bonham, 85, passed away on March 19 at the Leeton District Hospital.
He was a husband to the late late Shirley Bonham, father and father-in-law of Maree, Terry and Monique and Kathryn.
Mr Bonham was known by many in the community as being a teacher and principal, as well as his long-running association with the sport of bowls and the Leeton Soldiers Club.
Mr Bonham was the longest-serving former president of the club and the only club patron.
He served on the board of directors for 31 years and was club president from 1990 to 2010. Mr Bonham was appointed as the club's first patron in 2010, a position he held until the time of his death.
Mr Bonham was passionate about the club's responsibility as "the club for all the community" and continued to support that vision well after he finished his long period of service on the board.
Among his achievements as president was the club's purchase of the old WC&IC commissioner's residence in Yanco Avenue and its donation to Leeton Shire Council for use as the town's visitor information centre.
He was also the instigator of negotiations with the federal government for the purchase from the Department of Defence of the former Drill Hall Site to be used for future development.
As part of those negotiations he agreed the club should construct the current Army Reserves Hall in Petersham Road at its own cost to allow the survival of the local Army Reserves Unit.
Mr Bonham was a dedicated supporter of the RSL and worked closely with the sub-branch. Another of his projects was the construction of the Stan Axtill Centre.
As a former school teacher, Mr Bonham was instrumental in the establishment of the Wade Sports Club Foundation following the closure of the Wade Bowling Club in 2002.
A green at the Soldiers Club was named in his honour in 2013 to thank for his achievements on and off the sporting lawn.
Les Bonham's bowls record
- Les holds cap number 795 representing NSW on nine occasions.
- Life member of Leeton Soldiers Men's Bowls.
- Nine singles titles, including 2008 Jamien & Shaun.
- Six pairs titles.
- Eight triples titles.
- Five fours titles.
- Life member of Riverina District Bowling Association where he won two singles titles, one pairs, two triples and four fours.
- The Riverina District award for the club player of the year is fittingly named the Les Bonham Trophy.
- He also competed in and was a part of at least three winning Riverina teams in the annual Bing Walder competition the pinnacle of zone eight bowls.
- Les made his pennant debut in Bathurst in 1963.
- He then went on to play for Leeton Soldiers Club from 1964 to 2018 - 55 consecutive years.
- In that time, he played in a pennant winning team on 21 occasions, the majority of those being the coveted state ones.
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