Historic Shropshire bowling green saved by generous donations
An historic Shropshire bowling green has been saved by generous donations.
The Woore Bowling Club, near Market Drayton, fought to save the bowling green in their village, which has been a historic staple there for over fifty years.
The bowling green was originally adjoined to The Swan Hotel and car park, and the owners let the club use the green if they covered maintenance and service costs.
When the hotel and adjoining land was sold in 2016 to Tree Tops Homes Limited, the club's future was uncertain.
It has taken over two years, but through the efforts of club members and friends, and a National Lottery funded grant from Sport England, they were able to raise enough money to buy the green back from developers.
Chairman Gary Beff said it is a fantastic achievement for their club and a win for small sports clubs like theirs across the country.
He said: "We now own the green and a percentage of the car park - the other side will be developed on. The hotel has since been turned into apartments.
"The developer was very supportive and patient throughout the whole process. I have nothing but good things to say about the developer.
"He wanted to build on the land but we put up a very strong battle and I can only say that he has been very supportive actually and given us the time to be able to buy the land back from him."
They had to raise £225,000 to buy the land.
£65,000 came from a Sport England grant and the rest was raised by Nick Speakman, a local entrepreneur from Madeley, near Woore, who's mother is a member of the club.
Mr Speakman plans to build four small properties on his share of the car park.
Mr Beff said: "It would have been devastating for the club to lose the green. Although we are a small club, we play quite successfully. We have some players who play county wide and others who play at a national level.
"If the original developer had been more aggressive he would have had us off the bowling green a long time ago but he was very helpful and patient. He was willing to pay for us to move to another land if we had been able to find any.
"The bowling club is literally in the heart of the village. We got a lot of support from local people. We are so delighted and proud of what we have achieved."