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Eye Bowls Club celebrates 50th anniversary

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Leading figures from the bowls world helped to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Borough of Eye Bowls Club.

As well as a visit by Bowls England national president Hazel Marke and vice-president Paul Robson, 16 past presidents were in the team which played a celebration match against the Eye bowlers.

The mayor of Eye, Jane Hudson, was also a guest and with Mrs Marke unveiled a new welcome board, hand-painted by Adam Warnes, as a permanent reminder of the occasion.

Eye bowlers in front of the club's new welcome sign Picture: Michael Ling
Eye bowlers in front of the club's new welcome sign Picture: Michael Ling

The Eye bowlers, captained by Steve Howell and Dianne Stannard, made sure the day would also be remembered for its success by beating the visiting team, captained by local bowler Peter Cottee and made up of bowlers drawn from 10 different counties, by 124 shots to 116.

Bowlers and guests were welcomed to the match by Eye president Bob Tebbutt, and the club’s history was recalled by senior member Peter West, who has just celebrated his 90th birthday, at an evening meal after the match.

The land on which the green was created was owned by a resident of Brome Avenue and originally occupied by five tennis courts.

A group of bowlers who had been playing at Occold wanted to move to Eye and persuaded Mr Thorndyke – known as Sonny – to let them build a pavilion and bowling green, leaving two of the courts.

Eventually the tennis club folded and the bowls club was able to expand.

In 1994 the present clubhouse was built, the club increased its membership and it became a popular venue for social events as well as bowls.

As well as thanking the visiting bowlers and presenting gifts to the Eye president and the club’s greenkeeper, caterers and bar staff, Mrs Marke cut a celebration cake made by Eye bowler Barbara Salter. Thanks were expressed to Randolph Ford, a club trustee, and all the members who had helped to prepare for the celebration day.

In the celebration match, the Eye bowlers who made up the highest scoring rink were Barbara Salter, Les Mayhew, Daryl Snell and Paul Jackson.

A “spider” competition raised money for Visually Impaired Bowls England and donations were also made for Alzheimer’s research.

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