Andy Thomson is an all round champion. News Shopper's Josh Barrie is bowled over as he talks to a man who's just added a world record to a long list of honours
England bowler Andy Thomson MBE moved to south-east London in 1980 with three notable, if modest appearances for his native Scotland under his belt.
Settling into his new surroundings he joined Cyphers Indoor Bowling Club in Beckenham in 1981 and since then has gone onto receive an MBE, win dozens of world championships and has recently been made coach of Jersey’s team in readiness for this year’s Commonwealth Games.
His achievements in the sport were perhaps summed up this month at The Home International Series, held in County Durham on March 14. Mr Thomson reached a commendable milestone there by making his 100th appearance for the England national side.
Beckenham teammate Ian Way described it as "a unique achievement" and "probably one that will never be equalled". Indeed, Mr Thomson had to play for 34 consecutive years to reach that total and the bowling stalwart said it was a proud moment.
The 58-year-old, who lives in New Eltham, added: "It was great - we only get three caps a year so it takes a while.
"I’ve been bowling at the top level for a long time. I was really happy to get to the century."
In his long career the England captain has claimed the world singles’ title on three occasions, racking up further awards in countless other contests.
And his achievements have not gone unnoticed - as well as meeting the Queen for his Royal honour last year, the keen Charlton FC supporter was presented by officials at this month's competition with an executive box visit to a game next season.
"I was very proud when I got my MBE - it felt absolutely fantastic.
"And it was a nice surprise [to get the ticket] from the association as I’m a big Charlton fan. When I moved here I started following the local team. I was pleased to receive that."
England team manager Tony Horobin led the presentation at Durham’s Stanley Club and praised the efforts of his 100-game star.
He said: "To be able to play and maintain the high standard required for international play over such a long period shows dedication, exceptional ability and a passion for the game itself.
"Records are there to be broken, but although there are many players here today who have the potential to play for many more years - well, I'm not sure if this record will ever be broken."
Mr Thomson gave little explanation for his dizzying efforts, other than telling News Shopper that "bowling is my life". It’s unsurprising then that when not playing the sport, he works for bowling company Taylors.
He added he hopes to continue playing long into the future and when not bowling indoors plies his trade at outside clubs in Blackheath and Greenwich.