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The Green on the Hill

Chapter Five

 

The Pavilion

 

By 1990 the bowlers' so-called Retreat was fast showing its age. For over 20 years it had served its purpose and was still regarded with some affection by members, but it was unstable and needed plenty of care and attention. It would scarcely have satisfied modern day health and safety regulations. Electrical faults were a particular problem, and John Turner senior - the club's handy man - though not himself trained as an electrician, was constantly in demand to fix the trouble. When the hut was finally replaced it was described by one expert as little more than a "living time bomb".

The bowling section in 1992 began to consider seriously how the Retreat could be replaced. The issue of course was how any new build could be paid for and clearly it would be one on which the Directors of the Club would need to be involved. It was agreed therefore that a formal approach should be made to the Directors for a replacement pavilion. Barbara Turner, the bowls club secretary duly wrote in March 1993 to Duncan McCalman, the Chairman of the Board, setting out the case.

Although the Board was sympathetic to the request, and prepared to contribute the sum of £1000, it made it clear that it would not be prepared to fully fund the venture. It suggested that the rest of the money would need to be raised by loans from members of the bowling section. No one was particularly happy with this situation, with some bowlers resenting what seemed to them to be too much money being spent on the upkeep of the tennis courts. For the moment the issue was left unresolved but would not go away. In July 1995 Duncan McCalman bowed to pressure and called an Extraordinary General Meeting of the bowls section to consider various options for the replacement of the existing Pavilion and how it might be funded. The meeting voted strongly in favour of replacing the existing building with one with water and electricity services. As to the financial implications, the meeting was informed that the Board would be prepared to make an application to the Sports Council for a grant from the National Lottery for such a pavilion.

A sub-committee of the bowling section consisting of Sydney Parke, Andrew Hague and John Nicholls was formed to deal with the application to the Council. It proved to be a very exacting task and took them around twelve months to assemble carefully all the information required. The application was formally lodged in October 1996. To the delight of everybody concerned, on Monday 2 January 1997 it was announced that the bowls club had been awarded in full by Sport England the requested award of £9,285 for their new pavilion. The award made up for around half of the total cost of the new building. The prospect of having their own purpose built pavilion overlooking the green was a huge fillip for the club.

Work on the pavilion began straightaway in early February 1997 and was virtually completed by the summer. On 11 July 1997 the pavilion was officially opened by Mrs Vera Saunders, a much respected and the oldest member of the bowls club. It was a fine sunny day, and in front of a large crowd, Vera stepped forward, snipped the blue ribbon across the doorway of the pavilion, and it was now open for business.

 

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