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Tributes paid to former British champion tenpin bowler, who died aged 71

PUBLISHED: 13:01 28 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:01 28 December 2017

British champion bowler Josephine Chapman, who has died aged 71. Picture: Courtesy of Helen Chapman

British champion bowler Josephine Chapman, who has died aged 71. Picture: Courtesy of Helen Chapman

Courtesy of Helen Chapman

A former British champion tenpin bowler who settled in Suffolk has died at the age of 71.

A recent photograph of Josephine Chapman. Picture: Courtesy of Helen ChapmanA recent photograph of Josephine Chapman. Picture: Courtesy of Helen Chapman

Josephine Chapman - known to those close to her as Josie - became Ladies British Tenpin Bowling Champion in 1967 and also represented England in the sport.

In 1978, she settled in Rumburgh, near Halesworth, where she lived with her husband David Chapman - who she later separated from - and daughter Helen, who was born that year.

She was born in Poole, Dorset in 1946 and lived in a two-room basement flat with her mother, Florence Leaver. She never knew her father, who was an American soldier who left her mother to raise her alone.

She took up bowling in the mid-1960s, and within two years won the Ladies Singles title at Wembley and was chosen to represent England in the 1968 world championships, held in Malmo, Sweden.

After moving to Rumburgh, she became a full-time mother, but was also able to purse a passion for breeding horses.

Miss Chapman, 39, said: “She was always obsessed with horses. She loved to breed them and in the last few years of her life became part of an elite racing group, which she lived for.”

Mrs Chapman was described by her daughter as “an amazing mum”, and was particularly supportive after Miss Chapman was severely injured in a road accident.

She said: “She was the most wonderful mother I could have asked for. After my injury she gave up two years of her life to care for me.

“She was always a real rock for me.”

Mrs Chapman moved from Rumburgh to Norwich in 2012 and in 2015 was told that she only had two years to live, due to kidney failure. However, she never let this news consume her.

Miss Chapman added: “She took everything in her stride and had such an amazing sense of humour. I couldn’t be prouder of her.”

In the final months of her life, on attempting to trace her heritage she as able to establish her first contact with her father’s side of the family,

She died on December 12 at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Miss Chapman has thanked the staff at the hospital for all their hard work while she was in their care.

Her funeral takes place on Friday, December 29 at Waveney Crematorium at 3pm, with the procession led by horse-drawn carriage.

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