Stamford’s Belton Garden Bowls Club shuts due to lack of members

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A BOWLS club has been forced to shut down after failing to recruit new members.

Chairman of Stamford’s Belton Garden Bowls Club Keith Rippon appealed for members through the Mercury in September.

Mr Rippon was worried that without an influx of younger players the club, based in the Recreation Ground, would be forced to close.

But the appeal was unsuccessful and Mr Rippon had to make the hard decision to shut the club down.

He said: “We don’t have enough members to continue, its as simple as that.

“I am gutted. We spent a lot of time working on the green getting it to a reasonable standard but now we can’t continue. It’s disappointing to say the least.”

The club was formed in a garden in Belton Street, Stamford, and moved to The Rec in the 1980s. But membership has dwindled in recent years and the club was left with only 20 playing members.

Mr Rippon, who has been involved in the club for more than 20 years, added: “People aren’t coming into the game as perhaps they once were, but I don’t know why. The overall level of people playing the game has decreased.

“It’s a shame for the few members that remain but we all agreed it was inevitable. It’s a lovely facility in a lovely setting.”

Penny Dawson is chairman of the Friends of Stamford Recreation Ground and has worked with the bowls club for many years.

She said: “We are really going to miss them. They have been very supportive of our playground and spend a penny campaigns.

“The club has been an important user of The Rec. They have maintained the green to an incredibly high standard and it has provided and attractive feature for people to look at.

“Next year is looking fantastic with the new toilets and hopefully a skatepark, but then there is the loss of this facility. It is important to have different activities for different groups of people.”

The green and clubhouse will be handed back to Stamford Town Council. Councillors have not yet decided what to do with the facility.