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Village bowls club could fold over dispute with pub landlady

PUBLISHED: 06:30 11 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:46 11 September 2020

Members of Lenwade Bowls Club who are unable to use their club house, green and facilities at The Bridge Inn, Lenwade.
(C) Archant 2020

Members of Lenwade Bowls Club who are unable to use their club house, green and facilities at The Bridge Inn, Lenwade. (C) Archant 2020

Archant 2020

For almost a century, teams of players have taken aim on Lenwade bowling green.

Members of Lenwade Bowls Club who are unable to use their club house, green and facilities at The Bridge Inn, Lenwade. Arnie Groves is the club chairman.
(C) Archant 2020Members of Lenwade Bowls Club who are unable to use their club house, green and facilities at The Bridge Inn, Lenwade. Arnie Groves is the club chairman. (C) Archant 2020

But there are fears that their fun could be over - because they are being stopped from using the green and clubhouse.

Lenwade Bridge Bowls Club, which was formed 92 years ago, has helped generations practice on land next to the Bridge Inn on Fakenham Road, donated by the former owner of the adjoining gravel pits in 1928.

But chairman Arnold Groves, 80, from Cromer Road in Norwich, said Rachel Bobbin, landlady of the pub, owned by Wellington Pub Company, had prevented club members for accessing the green and clubhouse since lockdown.

Mr Groves, who has been a member for 15 years, said: “All our members, many elderly, are devastated. We have recently invested significantly in improving our clubhouse and our green and we have had an excellent relationship with the Bridge Inn over the years.”

Members of Lenwade Bowls Club who are unable to use their club house, green and facilities at The Bridge Inn, Lenwade. Arnie Groves is the club chairman.
(C) Archant 2020Members of Lenwade Bowls Club who are unable to use their club house, green and facilities at The Bridge Inn, Lenwade. Arnie Groves is the club chairman. (C) Archant 2020

He said the clubhouse was built 12 years ago from village hall remnants.

Mr Groves said: “It is getting ridiculous now.”

The club, which was part of the NANSA league last year, pays for the upkeep of the ground, according to Mr Groves.

“We have had a few people leave the club over the situation to play bowls elsewhere. We are down to the bare minimum of players of 12 people.”

Members of Lenwade Bowls Club who are unable to use their club house, green and facilities at The Bridge Inn, Lenwade.
(C) Archant 2020Members of Lenwade Bowls Club who are unable to use their club house, green and facilities at The Bridge Inn, Lenwade. (C) Archant 2020

MORE: ‘It’s been the heartbeat since 1978’ - sadness as leisure centre closes indoor bowls club

The chairman added the club was focused on getting the clubhouse back but could not afford any legal fees.

He was also keen on finding out descendants of the previous landowner as he said the club could not move to another location.

Bowls club member Peter Warnes, from Morton on the Hill, said he would be heartbroken if the club could not continue.

And Sally Buckley, 68, from Salle, said the situation facing members was horrendous as the club helped young as well as older people get out, socialise and exercise.

The landlady and Wellington Pub Company were approached for comment but did not respond.


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