Sir Eric Pickles

Informal Visit by Local MP

On Friday 10th June 2016 we had the honour of hosting an informal visit by Sir Eric Pickles, our local Member of Parliament. As you can see from the article he posted on his website and which is copied in full below, he was very interested in what we do, the value we add to our local community and what we hope all the visitors do, enjoyed himself. 


Bowling for Success

by  on 14TH JUNE 2016 in ARTICLES

There is something quintessentially English about a light breeze stirring bright blossom on a hot summer’s day, as white-clad figures move purposefully across an immaculate green lawn.

So it was with great pleasure I found myself at the Bantham and Ongar Bowls Club on the outskirts of North Weald this week, enjoying the sunshine and in the company of a group of charming and dedicated bowls players.

The Bantham and Ongar Bowls Club is unusual in that it has an artificial flat green bowls surface…a large green carpet laid on sand to you and me. The surface was originally laid thirteen years ago and has reached the end of its useful life, which is why news of a fifty four thousand pounds grant from Sport England‘s Inspired Facility Fund, which has been helping breathe new life into tired community sports facilities since 2011, has been welcomed.

Standing outside the beautiful clubhouse overlooking the green, it is easy to see how tired the original carpet has become and the club was under threat of closure if the grant had not come through. This would have been a terrible shame, because it was clear from the club members I met that it is a much loved social club for the community, both local and further afield, with people travelling from Ongar, Epping and Doddinghurst to take part in bowling, cards and social events. There is even the chance to take part in yoga with an instructor who comes in during the week.

The artificial surface means bowlers in wheelchairs can play, and there was a cheerful admittance that although the green is “all-weather”, some of the members
are not!

The Bantham and Ongar Bowls Club is, like many others, looking for new members. It is a sport suitable for all ages, although most current members are retired, and all abilities. So if you are finding tennis a little too energetic, or golf a little too lengthy, so go and look at your local bowls club. If all clubs are anything like Bantham and Ongar, you will get a very friendly welcome.

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