A BOWLS club has officially reopened after a £70,000 refurbishment that has seen its 90-year-old facilities completely overhauled.
The Titchfield Old English Bowling Club, on Bridge Street, held a party to celebrate and scores of villagers and players stopped by to mark the occasion.
The club hopes the upgrade, which has seen a new hut built complete with toilets and kitchen facilities, will attract some younger members and help it expand the reach of the sport.
Club chairman Phil Allison said: ‘It is so nice to have all the facilities we really needed – we even have a new mower.’
Mike Ferris, bowls player and Titchfield resident, said: ‘Our old hut was completely dilapidated and lacking in facilities, and we now have a club house which accommodates all of our 65 members.
‘It cost £70,000 made up from a contribution from the club and another from the Hampshire Playing Fields Association, a large contribution from Sport England and Fareham Borough Council contributed £20,000 from its community fund.’
The club was successful in obtaining £46,388 from Sport England, which it put towards the other contributions to reach its £70,000 target.
Mr Ferris added: ‘The club is for the community and we continue to support it and we would now like some new members. It’s a very interesting game.’
Malcolm Miles, from Hampshire Playing Fields Association which donated £2,000 to the club, said: ‘It is a real credit to them all. I saw this club years ago and it was very basic, although they were a very enthusiastic group. Now it is a total transformation.’
Executive member for leisure and Titchfield ward councillor Connie Hockley performed the official opening duties at the new facilities on Friday.
Cllr Hockley said: ‘It is tremendous, brilliant and wonderful. Their dream has come true.’
Members of the club enjoyed playing their first games on their new green at the weekend.
The club plays Old English bowling, which has slightly different rules to traditional bowling and is only played by five clubs in the country, and now it hopes to attract a bigger and younger crowd.
Mr Allison said: ‘We are particularly keen to get some new members and would like them to come along and try the sport.’
For more information call 01329 841182.