Monday, 21 June 2021

Bowls club folds due to lack of volunteers

PEPPARD Bowls Club has folded after it failed to find enough people to run it.

PEPPARD Bowls Club has folded after it failed to find enough people to run it.

Too few people volunteered for the new committee at an extraordinary meeting of the club last week.

It was the second time this had happened following a previous attempt to form a committee at the club’s annual meeting in September.

The exiting committee will stay in place to manage the closure.

It is understood the club was in a sound financial state.

The Peppard club, which was formed in 1929, had about 50 playing members last year as well as additional social members.

Its home was next to Peppard War Memorial Hall in Gallowstree Road.

Club president Elaine Roberts said: “With great sadness, after nearly 100 years of bowling, Peppard Bowls Club closed on the October 27 following an extraordinary general meeting.

“It has been very difficult over the past few years to introduce enough new members to carry on with the number of fixtures required to maintain a profitable club.

“This aside, the biggest problem recently was that not enough of the current membership were willing or able to take on the responsibility of running the club with all that entails.

“There was therefore, regrettably, no option other than to close.”

During the 2014 season, Peppard were forced to withdraw from league fixtures because members had left. However, after recruiting 11 new members for the 2015 season, they remained in the league. The club, which is affiliated to Bowls England and Bowls Oxfordshire, extended the size of its green in 1979 to include disused tennis courts.

A spokesman for Bowls England said: “The majority of clubs across all sports rely upon the support of volunteers. One of our key priorities is to offer support to all affiliated clubs so that those volunteers who require assistance to run their club receive it.

“It is very disappointing to hear that one of our clubs has had to close due to a lack of volunteers but we trust that those who wish to continue playing will join another club in the area.”

Members of the club have approached Sonning Common parish councillor Carole Lewis, whose late husband Michael Lewis was secretary of the club, to ask if she would like to find a home for three seats that he bought for the club. Councillor Lewis said: “He loved it there and at that time it was lively but people die and they get old and they don’t have the youngsters coming through.”

She said she understood the club was trying to re-home some other items. She plans to keep one of the benches while the other two could go to the Island Bohemian Bowls Club on Fry’s Island in Reading.

Tony Cotton, chairman of Peppard Parish Council, said he was “shocked and disappointed” by the loss of the club.

“It’s a village facility that has been used by a lot of people,” he said. “They seem to get a great deal of fun out of it and the closure is a great shame.

“I’m amazed they weren’t able to get enough people to serve on the committee.

“People who find driving difficult or can’t drive might not be able to get somewhere else easily.”

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