103-year-old club launches public appeal to build new flood-resistant home

West End Bowls Club, Buckingham. Ray East, coach and Pat Costello, treasurer. 130530M-C165
West End Bowls Club, Buckingham. Ray East, coach and Pat Costello, treasurer. 130530M-C165

One of Buckingham’s oldest sports clubs is launching an appeal to raise money for a new clubhouse after repeated floods caused the building to start to fall into disrepair.

Buckingham West End Bowls Club, which was established in 1910, needs to raise between £180,000 and £200,000 to build a new flood-resistant brick clubhouse.

The proposed new building will be raised above the surrounding land to protect it from flooding which undermined the clubhouse in 1998 and 2007.

The clubhouse, off Brackley Road, is used every day of the week and also hosts community activities including short mat bowls, bingo, whist, quizzes and even belly dancing.

But club president Lyn East said the structure is now in a very poor state of repair, with a sagging roof, cracks in the walls and a kitchen that is falling away from the rest of the building.

The building, which survived two world wars and many floods, can no longer be insured.

Mrs East added: “We’ve already been fundraising and we’ve got about 15 per cent of the total ourselves.

“I just believe very strongly that sport is a lifelong activity that enhances life.

“My husband and I met playing sport, and I believe it keeps the mind healthy as well as the body.

“Older people can become isolated and people often write off older folk.”

A recent open day was attended by around 50 people and resulted in 16 new members signing up.

One visitor described the club as ‘Buckingham’s best kept secret’, said Mrs East.

The club hopes a local business may be interested in sponsorship. Funding from public bodies including Aylesbury Vale District Council and the National Lottery is also being applied for. Work could start on the project next September.