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HOLLINGTON OLD CHURCH BOWLS CLUB

ST LEONARDS-ON-SEA

A BRIEF HISTORY

As early as 1930 the Rector for the Church in the Wood, Mr Arthur B. Taylor, formed a Committee to lobby the Town Council into providing recreation facilities for the Hollington area, but unfortunately was not successful in achieving this.

A few years later in 1933 a very close friend of his who was a loyal member of the Church in the Wood, namely Miss Rosina Gibbons, died and left a handsome bequest for the benefit of the Church and the Parish. Miss Gibbons had named Mr A. B. Taylor and Mr W. J. Robbins as her Trustees and had given them absolute discretion as to the disposal of the funds.

The Trustees acquired the green area in Wishing Tree Road, St Leonards-on-Sea which became known as the “Gibbons Memorial Field”. The ground was prepared for two tennis courts, a bowling green and a football area. These sporting facilities were officially opened by the Mayor (Alderman A. Blackman J.P.) on the 9th May 1935 with the Mayor delivering the first wood and joining in the games with members of Rosemount and White Rock Bowls Clubs. The Club was to be open to any member of the Parish regardless of religion at a charge of two shillings for the season and 2d a week towards the upkeep of the green.

In December 1943 a Deed of Trust was drawn up with conditions attached which stated that the land was not to be used for Sunday games and no intoxicating liquors to be sold on the ground or any building upon it, also the field was to continue to be known as “The Gibbons Memorial Playing Field”.

History repeated itself on the 9th May 1995 for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations when the presiding Mayor (Richard Stevens) yet again delivered the first wood against teams from the same Rosemount and White Rock Clubs.

The tennis courts have long since gone but we are very lucky that the bowling green is still with us today.

At one stage the Town Council tried to acquire the grounds for public use but yet again Mr Arthur B. Taylor strongly opposed this motion – we have a lot to thank him for. Also the support and dedication of many stalwart members of the Club throughout its history has ensured the greens and Club’s existence continue to grow from strength to strength.

On May 9th, 2015 the club celebrated it's 80th birthday and to be true to tradition the presiding Mayor, Mr Bruce Dowling, played the opening bowl, against teams from Rosemount and White Rock Bowling Clubs.