Club bowled over by lottery grant

BOWLERS' dreams of a new clubhouse were coming true today as workmen moved on site to start building the £113,000 project.Demolition of the club's 40-year-old clubhouse will start tomorrow and the new headquarters should be in place ready for the new season in April.

By Richard Cornwell

BOWLERS' dreams of a new clubhouse were coming true today as workmen moved on site to start building the £113,000 project.

Demolition of the club's 40-year-old clubhouse will start tomorrow and the new headquarters should be in place ready for the new season in April.

The scheme for the Trimley (Cranfield) Bowls Club has been made possible thanks to an £82,000 lottery grant from Sport England.

It has has spent three years trying to get the grant and has had to make a number of modifications to its plans, which doubled the cost, at the insistence of Sport England – but the result will be a top quality facility for the future, able to be used all year round.

The Trimley (Cranfield) club is regarded as "the odd one out" in local bowls circles because it is not being affiliated to any bowling or sporting organisation and allows its members to play in casual clothes, even shorts.

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"The only stipulation we insist upon is the correct footwear to protect the eight rinks," said chairman Valerie Pryke.

The club though is one of the most popular in the area with nearly 140 members, playing nearly 30 friendly matches a year and hosting three informal tournaments, including one for charity. Touring teams also visit.

"They are all very relaxing occasions and everyone enjoys themselves thoroughly. We are known as the friendly club," added Mrs Pryke.

Lottery bid co-ordinator Brian Pryke said everyone was thrilled with the grant.

"We are delighted. It's been a lot of hard work over the past three years, but everyone has worked together which is why this club is such a success."

The club was formed in the 1950s on land donated by Lady Cranfield on condition that it should always be available for the use of the village.

But it has long needed a new larger and more modern headquarters – with one of the biggest problems being a lack of loos, with members having to borrow a key and run 60 metres to the nearby village hall.

The new clubhouse – to be sited behind the Memorial Hall in High Road, Trimley St Martin – will be twice as large and include toilets, a meeting room big enough to cater for carpet and short-mat bowls, and a well-equipped kitchen.

The scheme will mean the club will be able to welcome juniors from age seven and a number have already shown an interest in playing.

As well as the Sport England grant, the club has also received financial support from Suffolk Coastal council, parish councils in both Trimleys, county council and the Suffolk Environment Trust.

WEBLINKS: www.sportengland.org

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