Refurbished arena takes Norfolk bowls club into 21st century

The successful end to a year-long �120,000 refurbishment project has been celebrated at County Arts Indoor Bowls Arena in Thorpe St Andrew.

Town mayor John Ward was on hand to cut the ribbon to officially open the refurbished arena, based in Plumstead Road East.

The improvements consist of a suspended ceiling, energy saving lights, air-conditioning and insulated wall cladding.

Club secretary John Mason said: 'This has brought us into the 21st century. We were the first purpose-built indoor bowls club in Norfolk when we opened in 1962 and next year we will be celebrating our 50th anniversary.

'The thing when you are first is that people tend to copy you and then you fall behind.

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'However, we would like to think that this refurbishment puts us back at the front of the queue and where we want to be.' Plans for the club's 50th anniversary celebrations are already being made, with a representative England team lined up to come to Thorpe for a match in October next year.

Club chairman Dennis Hansell feels the club has now got brighter days ahead of it. He added: 'I truly believe we are showing that the County Arts is a proactive club, and ready to invest in the future, and we will not only delight our existing members, but will also attract new ones.

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'None of this could have been achieved without the members' vote of confidence because we are a members-owned club.'

A reception was held before the formal opening and the organisation's county presidents Mel Cushing and Sheila Clarke were honoured guests.

Anybody interested in joining the club should call 01603 434529.

Do you know of refurbishment work in Thorpe St Andrew? Call local reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or email

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