The Beginnings of Bearsted & Thurnham Bowls Club

Today, visitors to the Club are met by the sight of a glorious seven rink green, with the refurbished and extended pavilion standing at the furthermost point, in an elevated position. It was not always like this. The Clubs history only goes back as far as 1983, when a group of local bowlers formed the Bearsted and Thurnham Bowling Club and arranged with the Parish Council to lease a plot of land adjacent to the Church Landway. For the first three seasons, bowlers had to change in tents erected on the day and played on a slowly improving Green. Needless to say, all other facilities at the time were extremely primitive! In the bleak winter of 1986/87, a pavilion was constructed, with all the funding and much of the labour being provided by the clubs membership.

The Club Pavilion Today

The Pavilion has undergone extensions and refurbishment of internal facilities over the years. During the winter of 2004/2005, the Pavilion was widened and fitted with "wide-view" picture windows in order to gain maximum advantage of its elevated position over the green. Internal ventilation has been improved and the viewing of matches for spectators seated in the Pavilion is much enhanced. New lighting, heating and furnishings have been purchased to provide for more room and comfort for members and visitors. Improved and extended changing accommodation for ladies and men is currently being planned.

New synthetic bowling green

During the winter of 2013/14 the Club secured funding from several organisations including , Bowls England, Biffa Awards and Sport England,
to install a new synthetic bowling surface.

View Pictures of the green installation

Bearsted and Thurnham Bowling Club

The Club continues to go from strength to strength, underpinned by sound financial management and a strong self help ethos. All improvements at the Club, from Pavilion extensions and refurbishments, to the purchase of equipment, have been funded from balances held by the Club, without any recourse to external grants, funding or loans. At a time when many clubs are struggling to maintain membership numbers the Club's strength continues to grow not least because of the Saturday morning coaching for juniors and the Thursday night coaching for adult newcomers. On the Green a full schedule of friendly fixtures offers ample playing opportunity. In addition, the Club enters a total of nine teams in four different competitive leagues. Club Competitions form an important and integral part of the seasons bowling programme. During May and September, a number of evenings are allocated for one off team competitions which maximise the capacity of the Green. Club Competitions comprise 7 adult singles competitions (Veterans, Two Wood, Men's Singles, Men's Singles Handicap, Ladies Singles, Ladies Singles Handicap and the 100 Up). In addition, there are a further seven team competitions. Junior players may enter adult competitions but also have two designated junior competitions (Singles and 100 Up). Recently an internal Club Triples league has been introduced to the late summer programme.

The Club considers it vital to maintain links with all our membership, notwithstanding how often they practice their bowling. To assist with this aim, newsletters are produced at least three times per year. These are dispatched to the entire membership in order to keep people informed of developments on and off the Green. Newsletters and Committee minutes are also scheduled for posting on this web site.

The volunteer and "self help" philosophy of the Club is demonstrated by the efforts of the "Green Team" and by other working parties that make a vital contribution to the successful running of the Club. All work associated with the maintenance of the Green, the surrounding areas and the pavilion is provided freely by Club members.

Dining in the Pavilion

The club has a recently modernised kitchen and bar and further improvements could be incorporated in the next phase of changes to the pavilion. As well as providing teas to support club matches, our ladies provide hot snacks on evenings throughout the season, usually on Thursdays, for League games and Club Competitions. For special events, excellent cooked meals with hot desserts are produced, which are available for players and spectators alike. A team of ladies provide for all the Clubs catering needs and consistently receive plaudits from visitors for the high standard of food that is served. A tea rota of volunteers is drawn up to manage the bulk of catering needs for the forthcoming season. Specific teams are formulated for special events and matches where a more ambitious menu is requested.

Working in the Community

A few minutes walk from the historic village green, and just beyond a medieval church, lies the idyllic location for the Bearsted and Thurnham Bowling Club. Facing a Special Landscape Area, it is not just by chance that the Club is located in an area of such outstanding beauty and rural bliss. There was a possibility that the immediate surrounding area could be developed, but the combined efforts of local residents and the wider community helped secure 12 acres of adjacent land as a an amenity area for the village, under the auspices of the Bearsted Woodland Trust. The land is now protected in perpetuity and can never be developed. Many Club members have joined the "Friends of the Trust" and the Club made a contribution to the 'Barn' building used as a store and office. Many Club members are actively involved in the Trusts affairs.

Bearsted and Thurnham Bowls Club 2017