Shropshire Star

Bowls club amazed as Queen pops in for a chat

It was just the latest leg of a summer tour – but for members of one bowls club on the Shropshire border it was a game they will never forget.

The Queen stops to chat with Brimfield’s Maurice Bassett and his team-mates

As members of Brimfield and Little Hereford Bowling Club concentrated on their game, a familiar face popped in for a chat.

The game happened to be in the grounds of Windsor Castle – and it coincided with the decision by the Queen to go out for a little fresh air.

And players were amazed at the informality of the encounter, which even included witnessing the Queen celebrating England's test triumph over Australia.

The Queen, who was driving herself around the grounds of Windsor Castle, stopped the game with her arrival.

Wearing a lilac dress, she shook hands with the players, chatted happily and posed for photographs.

"It was a total surprise – an incredible day," said Brimfield captain, Doug Smurthwaite following the encounter on Sunday.

Brimfield were playing the Royal Household, the highlight of the club's 25th anniversary tour and minutes before play was due to start the Household's captain, Graham Crisp, announced that the very special neighbour would be calling in.

"I told her that England had just beaten Australia in the first Ashes test and she gave a huge smile and what looked like a little fist pump," said club member Jim Allen.

As Brimfield players lined up in temperatures into the 80s, Her Majesty strolled past, chatting to members and treated all involved to a Royal handshake.

"It was a lovely moment, one to treasure," said club secretary Jill Turberfield. "I mentioned that she was expecting a happy event very soon and she just smiled."

The last to greet the Queen was 80-year-old Maurice Bassett, one of the club's longest standing members, who said it was an encounter he will never forget.

Mr Bassett said: "We had a nice chat. She asked me how long I had been playing."

The Queen watched a few ends of bowls before spurning the offer of a back seat and driving herself the short distance back to Windsor Castle.

It was the first time in six years the Queen had paid a visit to the bowls club.

"It is comparatively rare for Her Majesty to pay a visit," said Mr Crisp. "Her last visit was in 2007 so Brimfield should feel very honoured to be here.

"It's certainly a fitting way for the club to celebrate its 25th anniversary."

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