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Club History

How the club was formed and developed

The Bowls Club started its formation in October 1969 when a corner of the park was given by the Buxted Park Cricket Club to build a green and create a club. This was the start of making the dream come true for half a dozen local enthusiasts. These amazing gentlemen were: Robert Brooks, Leslie Court, Claude Needham, Alfred Wickham, William (Bill) Wickham and Alan Blackford. When Claude Needham moved out of the district, Michael(Mick) Read took his place.

In 1970, a local business man became interested in the project and donated the use of his machinery and labour to complete the shaping and levelling of the area and seeding. All other costs for materials, seeds, fertilizer, fencing and other machinery were covered by loans, grants and donations from the Founders and friends, with their labour all given freely. Apparently the weather was no better than now and caused many setbacks, but finally a basic six rink green was constructed.

In October 1972, twenty seven people enrolled to become the first members of the club, and 26 fixtures were arranged with other local clubs for the summer of 1973. By 1975 the number of members had more than doubled to 55, and  members were playing in County competitions, having officially affiliated in 1974. The first club competitons were also held in 1974: Ladies Singles, Men's Singles, Drawn Pairs, Founders Cup and Married Couples. By 1977, as the club grew, Two Wood Pairs and the Points competitions were also included. As the members gained experience, progress was rapid with County Badges being awarded and the first external siverware was won, the Forest Row (Mixed Double Fours) Trophy.

Despite the green improving, it was realised in 1979 that in order to get a perfect playing surface, the turf must be removed and the whole green re-levelled. The cost of such an undertaking was large but once again, with loans and labour from club members the work got under way. By April, despite the weather, the work was completed and even the surrounding banks rebuilt and paths constructed to improve the access. 

On September 8th, 1998 the whole pavilion was gutted by fire. This meant the scheduled improvements suddenly became a complete rebuild and design. Thanks mainly to the generosity of Founder Bill Wickham having left a large legacy to the Sports Association, the wonderful new clubhouse we now have, was built and officially opened in 2000.

More major work on the green followed in the winters of 2002/4, with the installation of a completely new drainage system, again by our own members, on time and at a quarter of the original estimated cost. The last such project was the installation of the preformed concrete ditches.

The club continues to grow and progress with the bulk of the jobs and work still being done by the members, and their value must never be underestimated or taken for granted. On the playing side too, the club has grown, with the ladies and men, separately and together, enjoying successes and simply taking part in a huge variety of games and competitions, alongside the happy social side that is so important to all.

Levelling the land before seeding the first green