New pavilion marks birthday celebrations
Hovingham Bowls Club in Ryedale, Yorkshire, launched its 90th birthday season with the opening of a new pavilion and was praised for the contribution it made to the village remaining a living and thriving community.
Sir William Worsley, of Hovingham Hall, who performed the ceremony, recalled that it was most likely that his great-grandfather opened the bowling green in 1933 and so he was particularly pleased to have been asked to help celebrate the club’s achievement in not just surviving for 90 years, but prospering too.
Hovingham BC plans to use its birthday year to raise the profile of bowls within the wider Hovingham area and attract as many new players as possible.
Sir William, who was accompanied by Lady Worsley, said that bowls was a very affordable game to play, and he thought that one of the great things about the game was that women and men played on equal terms. It was also socially good for a community.
“I have always tried to ensure that Hovingham is a living and thriving community and the survival of traditional rural sports such as bowls, cricket and tennis make an important contribution to the village itself as well as the wider area,” said Sir William.
Sir William also congratulated Hovingham BC for the way it had continued to
operate during COVID-19 and how it had emerged even stronger.
Club chairman Dave Skilbeck explained later that members were determined to make sure the club survived for a further 90 years and during Covid it had, in effect, reinvented itself by offering a wider range of social bowling, alongside traditional inter-village league bowling. It was intended to make bowls more attractive to those who led busy lives, as well as those who were retired and wanted to take up a new activity.
He said: “Bowls still has much to offer all ages. It is basically a simple game to play but offers a teasing challenge if you wish to master it. It is a great way to make new friends in the community. It also encourages people to get out into the fresh air and helps to keep people active and mobile.”
The club’s oldest member is Ron Thrower, who is 93, and therefore older than the club, and he is still intending to play in the club’s 90th season.
The club’s new pavilion, which will be mainly used as a shelter, has been funded by a community grant from Ryedale District Council.
Caption: Sir William Worsley (left) meets the oldest member of Hovingham Bowls Club, 93-year-old Ron Thrower, who will still be playing in the club’s birthday season