Hay -on-Wye Bowling Club members turn to DIY to get new pavilion built

As Hay-on-Wye Bowling Club’s new pavilion officially opened, the B&R’s Joe Corrick meets the team behind the ambitious project.

By Joe Corrick   |   Reporter   |
Sunday 10th April 2022 6:00 am
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The new Pavilion opening
(Photos by Lesley Moore and Mike Barrell )

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When members of Hay-on-Wye bowling club found their plans for a new pavilion brought to an unexpected halt by the covid pandemic, they decided to take drastic action and built the new centre themselves

Now, after two years of hard work, eight members of the club have successfully completed the project and this weekend saw pavilion officially opened.

The dream of a new club house was started back in 2019, when the club gained planning permission from the local council to remove a large hedge that ran alongside the green, and in its place have a new home for themselves.

However, their plans were thrown up in the air when covid struck in March 2020. The lockdown put a stop to builders carrying out work at the club and lead to a group of members from the bowling club hatching an ambitious plan to try their hand at building the pavilion themselves.

The group of make-shift builders consisted of David Griffiths, Alan Rich, Steve Parry, Colin Davies, David Evans and many more.

With limited funds and little knowledge, the group of 60 to 80-year-olds’ dug out the foundations of the building, fitted new bathrooms, a kitchen, a bar, and new carpets.

Following a huge effort, the group managed to complete the build in time for the new bowls season that kicks off in May with the minutes to the launch of the season ticked off on the large clock, which was also kindly donated by a member of the bowls club.

A spokesperson from the Hay-on-Wye Bowling Club expressed their gratitude for the funding they received for the project:

“The Hay-on-Wye Club and members wish to thank Sports Wales, Bowls Wales, the National Lottery and the Wakefield Trust for grant aid and Ms, Dianna Berriman of PAVO for support and advice.”

At the grand opening of the pavilion last weekend, club chairman, David Evans thanked everyone for their contributions to the project from Neatwood Homes to David Griffiths, head builder.

He was joined at the event by Fay Jones MP who congratulated club members on their ‘brilliant’ efforts.

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Members and guests outside Hay-on-Wye Bowls Club’s brand new pavilion

Ms Jones said: “I want to say an enormous congratulations to all of you, lead so brilliantly by David. This is such a fantastic community facility, and the way you’ve built it from the ground up is just brilliant and you should all be so proud of yourselves.

“Hay is already one of the most fantastic towns in this country and you have added to it and made it stronger. A very well done to all of you and I hope you enjoy it for many years to come.”

Following Fay Jones’ speech, she was then asked to cut the ribbon to the doors of the new pavilion for the grand opening, which was greeted with a round of applause.

Guests and members of the bowls club then entered the pavilion and enjoyed tea, coffee and cakes made by members of the club with Ms Jones invited to cut a celebratory cake to top off a wonderful afternoon.

During the afternoon, guests at the opening were invited to join club members in a game of Spider - designed for novices and experienced bowls players alike.

The game sees participants put £1 in a bucket as a donation and then bowl their wood into the middle of the green.

The person with the nearest wood to the Jack, in the middle of the green, is the coveted winner and is usually presented with a bottle of whisky. The first Spider winner was Ann Evans, and the second, for regular bowlers, was won by Joyce Morris.

Hay-on-Wye Bowling Club was originally established in 1987 with 29 founding members and was situated at Brookfield House by the side of the Conservative Club on a site owned by D J Pugh.

The bowling green, that is currently on Brecon Road, was built by Powys County Council in 1987 and in 1991 the club made the decision to join the Mid Wales Bowling Association and to play in the Mid Wales League.

The former club pavilion was rented from the county council and is now going to be used for community events and groups by the local council.

The club now has many teams competing in the Mid Wales Men’s League and Mid Wales women’s League. They have two or three games per week with clubs attending from all over Powys and Herefordshire, as well as friendly games and practice nights. The club welcomes spectators and new members of all ages and genders.

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