Down Rye Way
By M. J. P.
The Oxford Dictionary describes the word sportsman as a person who regards life as a game in which his opponents must be allowed fair play, a person ready to play a bold game”—what better way then to introduce you to William (Blower) Pierce—Rye’s finest sportsman.
Blower, third son of the late Alfred and Mary Pierce, born in 1919 in South Undercliff, Rye, went to Lion Street School until he was fourteen, but his love of sport and the game of golf started at the early age of eight, when most weekends and in search of pocket money, he went to Rye Golf Course and obtained jobs as caddying. Being on the small side and only eight years old it was no mean feat carrying a full set of golf clubs round 18 holes twice a day. The love of golf then was deeply rooted with Blower. When he left school at the age of fourteen he went caddying full time. When he was eighteen his handicap was 16 and it was then he was called for active service at the outbreak of World War Two.
He served with the 7th Batt. of the Royal Sussex Regiment. He was taken prisoner in France and there met two other Rye men, Johnny Button and Albert Underdown. The prisoners were put on a long trek by the Germans—through Belgium and across the Russian border—a march lasting from January until May and back again inside the German border in the state of Sudatenland where he was liberated by the Americans. He was sent home on recuperative leave for three months and spent a great deal of this time at his familiar haunt, the Rye Golf Course. His deep passion for golf was recompensed and his handicap during this time came down to 4 and within three years he was playing off scratch.
His love of sport did not rest with golf. He joined the newly re-formed Rye United Football Club in 1947 and once again shone as an outstanding player, playing in most positions on the forward line, his speed and accuracy being second to none. Blower’s football games had to fit in with his golf and now at his peak he won the Sussex Amateur Golf Championship six times in the next seven years, the Artisan Championship of England four times, the Sussex Artisan Championship eight times, the Churchill Box seven times and to date holds five course records. The very best
He married in 1946 and has five children. For the past eighteen years he has been steward of the Rye Club. In conclusion then, Blower is a true sportsman in every sense of the word. His tolerance to the youngsters just beginning and his whole attitude to the game makes Blower one of Rye’s best ambassadors.
From the January 1966 issue of “Rye’s Own”
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