Mareham bowlers are ready for action

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Members of Mareham le Fen Bowls Club are counting down the days to the start of the 2014 season - and the opening of their new £40,000 green.

They will launch their new facility on April 12 and are busy finalising plans for the big day.

Club chairman Noel Bush said: “It seems to have taken a long time - and a lot of hard work - but it will be well worth it.”

The club feared closure after 62 years when it was revealed their “old” green might be sold to help fund a new village hall.

Members refused to admit defeat. They bought an adjoining piece of land and have spent endless hours preparing the new surface for play.

The estimated cost of the project is between £35-40,000 with members contributing some of the funds themselves.

The scheme received a boost with a grant of more than £24,000 from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities fund.

Since then, the club secured an additional £4,000 from the Lincolnshire Community Foundation for specialist equipment

That will enable the green to be opened up to disabled bowlers for the first time.

Mr Bush added: “The idea of a new green started in about 2,000 when we heard about the plan to sell the existing green.

“The members got together and said they weren’t prepared to let the club die.

“There were times when we wondered whether it would happen, but we’ve had a lot of support. It will be tremendous to actually start playing on the new green.

“The only problem is we knew the old one like the backs of our hands so it is going to be like starting all over again.”

The current clubhouse will be retained and the club has secured access to the new green.

Mr Bush said there were rumours locally that the old green could become a village green - rather than new housing.