News Letter 19

Posted on 5th Oct 2020



This season has been a really unusual and difficult period for bowls clubs with competitive and friendly matches with bowlers from other clubs put on hold.

Whilst this has been a huge blow from a bowling perspective, at Bearsted & Thurnham BC we have probably managed to organise more internal league matches, competitions and roll up sessions than any other club within Kent.


Internal leagues included the Ladies Pairs, Mixed Triples, Mens Pairs, Grahame Walking, Friday Night Triples and September Stakes. These involved nearly 1,000 individual games for members across all the team events.

A range of club singles competitions were organised including Ladies Singles, Mens Singles, 2 Wood and 100 Up. These competitions and leagues were organised by a mix of Gill Lunn, Jenny Wright and Alan Quarman. The club is sincerely grateful for their combined efforts.


The Club Committee has managed to ensure that the clubhouse and bar, despite coronavirus restrictions, stayed open for business on every occasion that there were internal league matches being played. Thank you to everybody who has helped out, especially June, Brian and John.


We very much hope that members who have bowled  in matches, competitions and roll-ups, fully enjoyed their time on the Green.

To date, Gill Lunn has recorded and managed nearly 700 rink bookings for casual roll-ups as well as helping organise a wide range of league matches through the season for the benefit of members.  Time consuming, hard work and a great effort from Gill. THANK YOU !

The total bowlers ‘footprint’ on our Green in this  condensed summer season is in the region of 3,500.


Decisions and work undertaken by the Club Committee are always governed with the intention of achieving the best interests of all of the members in mind. Members feedback has been very positive about the bowling programme this season with supportive messages such as the following being received.

“Can I say how well run it has been from on and off the Green”.

“I think the club has put on such a lot for members this season”.

“Massive thank you goes out to June and John for covering bar duties and anyone I've missed”.

“I'd like to say that I hope all members realise what an amazing job you the committee have done to get bowls up and running this season, when most clubs in the area have done very little for their members”.

“Coming up to the club and enjoying bowling has been so helpful when so many other activities have been ruled out”.

“Please pass on my thanks to the committee and keep your heads up, you have turned an awful year into one to be proud of”.


The ‘unsung heroes’ of regular Tuesday morning working party, has undertaken all the necessary maintenance for the Clubhouse and on and off the Green over the past few months.  

The club is really grateful for their efforts and the hours they put in, week in and week out. A special thanks must go to Robin Lunn, Geoff Masters, Anthony Baines, Alan Quarman, Brian and June Birch. They do work in the clubhouse but most of their time is on the Green and its surrounds every week, for the benefit of the club about its members.


As a Committee, we are always looking forward to improve and explore all funding and grant opportunities for the club, with a view to enhancing  facilities for the benefit of members.

Despite the very significant problems for the local economy, the club has managed to attract 11 sponsors this season, thus raising £3,000 for the club.

This funding will help contribute towards the cost of our planned extension and provide for new toilets and an additional changing room.

Members will have viewed the smartly produced sponsorship boards positioned on a wall adjacent to the Green.


During 2019 the extension to the clubhouse on the Tennis Club side was completed. This provided for enlarged changing rooms and a more spacious clubroom area. Plastering, decorating, new entrance,  electrics, internal lighting and smart flooring throughout much of the clubhouse was included.

2020 saw the provision of a new kitchen, new bar area and new heating within the clubhouse. Sadly, the coronavirus restrictions meant that no use has yet to be made of our new kitchen, let alone the electric heating system.

Such a pity, but they will effectively still be brand spanking new and ready for members use for starting up in 2021 !


Despite the wide ranging improvements in 2019 and 2020, there remains a facility that is well below the standard that most of us would prefer. It is the toilets.

It is now the priority improvement sought by the club in the short term. The Committee is in the process of extensive and detailed discussions with Sport England and local building contractors, with a view to producing  plans for an extension that would enlarge the current space for toilet accommodation, including disability provision, by at least 250%, plus providing additional changing/storage accommodation.

Funding remains a key issue, but the club’s successful application for grant aid from the Government’s Business Rates Support Funding has helped with the club’s overall financial health.

Previous successful grant applications from the Lotteries Community Fund and Kent County Council, paid for over 85% of the clubhouse improvement costs earlier in the year. We are now at the final stage of the grant application process with Sport England, which includes a full assessment of the club’s project   management and budgetary costings. 

We must acknowledge and thank our local Member of Parliament, Helen Whately, John Carter, County Councillor, our local Borough Councillors, the Parish Council and Bowls England for their support.

The club will also be looking at the possibility of achieving a paved area between the extended clubhouse and the Green to accommodate the ‘David Sayer Marquee’ as a social and covered viewing space.



Flood-lighting is another area identified as a desired improvement project for the club. The photo below shows was has been achieved at Cobham BC. Committee reps have held meetings at Cobham and also with the club’s contractor/installer. We have discussed our ‘aspirations’ of achieving at least the same 200 lux levels over all parts of the Green.

Such a facility could well enhance the popularity of evening matches pre-season and from mid August to late October and potentially extend the season for a number of members.


We must all hope for 2021 to be a very special year for the club and for it to be fully invigorated once more. The club will plan for a full programme of competitive and friendly matches, accompanied with a number of supporting social events.

The club will again be entering a team in the prestigious Kent Millennium League. Matches are played mostly on week-ends and comprise of 4 x Mens 4s and 2 x Ladies Triples. Bearsted are currently the Kent Millennium League Champions.

The club has 3 teams in the Kent Weald League, each team comprising of 3 mixed triples. These matches are played mostly on Tuesday evenings. Each of the  teams has a squad of at least 15 players. Bearsted are currently the Kent Weald League Champions.

The club enters the Maidstone & District League which is played mainly on weekday evenings. Teams comprise of 4 x Mens 4s and 1 x Ladies triples.

We also enter the popular Maidstone Mens Friday Night Triples League where the club has 6 teams of 2 x Mens triples. Most of these teams have playing squads of 8/9 players. Bearsted are current the Maidstone FNT League Champions.


One positive thing we will have learnt from 2020 is the interest that members have shown with internal league programmes and this is something that could be further developed for the 2021 playing season.


The club plays about 40 friendly matches over the course of a season, home and away. There are a handful of men only or ladies only matches, but most of them are mixed triples. Some are played on week-end afternoons, but there are plenty of mid-week evening matches and a few on midweek afternoons.


The vast majority of bowls clubs maintain a manual and paper based system towards rink bookings, individual availability, team selection etc.

But times have to change. Gill has already taken and recorded over 700 bookings in this shortened season alone, in order to conform with government track and trace regulations.

The club will be researching and evaluating software  applications that will benefit members with the easy  access and interactive input that technology enables. Hopefully a satisfactory option will be available for the club well before next summer season.


It is that time of the year again, when membership renewal invitations are issued. I very much hope that you will continue supporting the club through 2021 as we plan for a very ambitious range of improvements to the club, plus a full programme of bowling fixtures and social events.

As you will be aware, for those members who paid the full rate of £78 in the 2019/2020 club year, a discounted playing membership rate of just £25 will apply for the 2020/21 club year.

For other playing members who paid a reduced rate, then the full membership subscription of £78 applies. Renewal forms will be despatched shortly.

With very best wishes

Mick Palmby  (Club Chairman)

Bearsted and Thurnham Bowls Club 2021