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Darlington bowls club grant lays down legacy
THE golden legacy of Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic summer successes will live on at a bowls club after it received a substantial grant to upgrade facilities.
Darlington Indoor Bowls Club, in The Morrison Centre, North Road, Darlington, received £40,000 from Sport England’s Inspired Facilties programme to install a new playing carpet.
The surface, laid in August, was officially opened on Saturday by Darlington mayor Councillor Paul Baldwin and saw Darlington MP Jenny Chapman and Sheila Storey, from the English Indoor Bowling Association, watch players from across the club’s age spectrum test out the carpet in exhibition matches.
Ken Tinkler, a director at the club, said the funding was a tremendous boost for the 360-member facility, which also hosts Durham county matches and a number of league fixtures during the season.
He said: “The reaction from members has been very favourable, and the carpet is a wonderful addition to our facilities.
“We are a very busy club and this money has been a great help because the previous carpet had been down 15 years and was starting to get a bit tired and worn.
“However, this new surface really gives us more scope to expand the club and get more people involved.
“When you look at the inspiration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and their success, it really can be a legacy for the club’s future to get more people bowling in Darlington, because there a lot of people in the town who don’t know what we have here.”
Mr Tinkler, who has played the sport for 30 years, said he hoped the surface could be used as a catalyst to attract younger players.
He said: “We do have a number of juniors who play alongside experienced bowlers, but we are always looking for more players and we are looking at going into schools to offer children tuition or allow them to come here and experience the sport.
“We have eight rinks here, which not many clubs have in the area, and can offer people the chance to have a go and enjoy themselves.”