Bowled out: Club closes

Her­sham: Dwin­dling num­bers blamed for clo­sure

Surrey Herald/News - - NEWS -

HER­SHAM Vil­lage Bowls Club is clos­ing after almost a cen­tury of serv­ing the com­mu­nity. Mem­bers of the Mole­sey Road club are not pin­point­ing any par­tic­u­lar rea­son for the clo­sure, putting it down to ‘lots of lit­tle things’. Bob Gar­nish, from Her­sham, is mar­ried to trea­surer Liz Gar­nish and has played at the club ‘for around 10 to 12 years’. “We’ve had some su­per times and made some great friends,” said the 71-yearold. “It’s an ideal way to play a fan­tas­tic sport and meet peo­ple – it’s a su­per game.” Mem­ber­ship has dropped from the ‘ideal num­ber of 60’ and Mr Gar­nish has a the­ory to ac­count for the trend. He said: “The houses are so ex­pen­sive around here. Peo­ple get to 65 and their sons and daugh­ters have moved out of the area.

“So they look at each other and ask, ‘do you know how much our house is worth?’ “And then they move away to be near their chil­dren.” Ri­val Her­sham Bowls Club is sit­u­ated in the same road, although Mr Gar­nish pointed out ‘ we used to have the de­mand and it worked well’.

“I’ll miss it over the win­ter as the club is a lovely place to have a meet­ing or a re­union,” said Mr Gar­nish.

“I’ve thor­oughly en­joyed it and have lots of lit­tle plas­tic cups to show for my ef­forts. It’s great fun and a won­der­ful so­cial event.” Mr Gar­nish will miss his typ­i­cal Sun­day of ‘church in the morn­ing and bowls in the af­ter­noon’, he added. David Wheeler, un­til re­cently club vice cap­tain, said that, in some ways, na­ture took its course. “We had a lot of mem­bers die and the num­bers went down and it proved hard to get new peo­ple to come along and play,” said the 79-year-old from Cater­ham. “Un­for­tu­nately we just can­not keep go­ing, it’s such a shame for the club.” Her­sham South coun­cil­lor John Shel­don got in­volved ‘a year or so ago’ as the club was get­ting into dif­fi­cul­ties. “They had de­clin­ing mem­ber­ship, a fea­ture for many clubs in the area anx­ious for mem­bers and keen to see new peo­ple,” said Cllr Shel­don. “The coun­cil pro­vided grants and in­cen­tives but un­for­tu­nately it hasn’t worked.” Ac­cord­ing to Mr Shel­don, a rea­son for the clo­sure could be in­creas­ing over- heads al­lied to the de­crease in in­come. “Coun­cils handed re­spon­si­bil­ity to bowls clubs for the main­te­nance of their greens or rinks,” he said. “And with de­clin­ing mem­ber­ship, they were forced to put up their an­nual fees but this hasn’t worked.

“It’s a sad con­clu­sion that this club has to close.”

Terry Hab­good EN145813

Her­sham Vil­lage Bowls Club played its

last matches at the week­end.

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