Sport bowl

New life has been breathed into a Wrexham bowling club which has been resurrected 15 years after it folded.

Hundreds of local people joined in the celebrations when Bradley Park Bowling Club, near Gwersyllt, was officially opened by Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths.

The all-weather crown green is the only outdoor facility of its kind in the area which has access for wheelchairs.

The club has had a team competing in the Wrexham and District League for the past two years, but now at last they have a place they can truly call home for home fixtures.

The lion’s share of the funding came from the Aggregates Levy Fund, set up by the Welsh Government to compensate communities for disruption caused by quarrying.

They gave a total of £125,000 while other funding included a donation of £28,000 from Gwersyllt Community Council and £25,000 from the Sports Council of Wales.

Work started on January 13 and was completed in record time thanks to the project management of Groundwork North Wales.

Club Chairman Ray Barnes was a driving force behind the revival, along with several others including Secretary Louise Roberts and her father, Sam Roberts, the Vice-Chairman.

Mr Barnes recalled when he first came up with the idea of resurrecting the club.

He said: “I stood on the green which was all derelict and saw the potential. This is absolutely overwhelming, to come here and see the project finally completed. It’s absolutely wonderful to see the dream become a reality.

“We’re now in the Wrexham and District League and we’ve got a veteran’s team. For the first two season, we’ve been playing away without a green at New Broughton and Pentre Broughton.

“In our first season we won the division and last season we finished fourth. Now, can start building a really good team here.”

A special buggy costing £2,500 has been donated to the club by the Barchester Foundation to enable people with disabilities to play there.

Trustee Nick Oulton explained: “The Barchester Foundation aims to make a difference to people’s lives, the money is raised by Barchester staff and match-funded by Barchester Healthcare.”

The Pendine Park care organisation, that’s based a couple of miles away on the outskirts of Wrexham, has also pledged on-going support.

One of the first people to have a go was wheelchair user Paul Williams, a Pendine Park’s resident, who joined Lesley Griffiths as she bowled the first bowl.

He said: “It’s very good. I used to be into bowls but I haven’t played for donkeys years.

“The idea of being able to play again is absolutely magic. We could even get a league going between the different homes at Pendine Park.”

Lesley Griffiths, who is also the Welsh Health Minister, said: “This is a great example of community spirit in action.

“This was a derelict site and the bowling club has risen from the ashes like a phoenix thanks to a great deal of work by the community and a number of key individuals.”