South Ribble Borough Council has stepped in to secure the future of a much-loved Leyland bowling green.
Members of the long-established Eagle & Child Bowling Club approached the Council for help after learning their home on Church Road could be sold by landowner Marstons Brewery.
With the club unable to afford to buy the facility themselves, more than 125 years of crown green bowling history on the site was in doubt.
However, that proud link has now been preserved – with the Council completing the purchase of the green and offering the club a 30-year lease.
The long-term partnership also makes the club eligible to apply for grants from Sport England.
Cllr Matthew Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Finance, Property and Assets at South Ribble Borough Council, said: “I’m absolutely delighted we’ve been able to save this wonderful facility for local residents.
“The Eagle & Child Bowling Club has been part of our community for well over a century and this bowling green is one of Leyland’s best kept secrets.
“In fact, once restrictions allow, I can think of few better ways to spend a sunny afternoon than with a nice pint and few ends of bowls!
“Crown green bowling often gets unfairly painted as an older person’s pursuit but in fact it’s great fun for people of all ages and has plenty of physical and mental health benefits.
“It’s a good way of staying active, getting some fresh air and unwinding. For older residents, the social aspect of the game is also particularly important.”
Eagle & Child Bowling Club currently has around 80 active members of various ages, ranging from teenagers to over 80s. It also boasts two Ladies county representatives and two Junior county representatives.
The club are the current holders of the Leyland League Cup and over the past three years have been Ladies League and Cup Winners as well as claiming various Veterans League titles and achieving back-to-back promotions in the Preston & District League.
Having secured their long-term future, they are hoping to attract new members both young and old.
Harry Glynn, Chair of the Eagle & Child Bowling Club, said: “On behalf of the club I would like to thank everybody at the Council who has worked so hard to secure the purchase of the bowling green in order to lease it back to us.
“This is a facility for the whole of the community. We are always looking for new members and we would particularly like to invite more young people come and join us.”
The Council and the Bowling Club will now work together on improvements to the facility, including new toilets and an accessible entrance for wheelchair users and visitors with restricted mobility.
Crown green bowling is currently suspended under national COVID-19 guidelines but groups of up to six people are expected to be permitted to play together from March 29.
Residents interested in joining the club can contact club secretary Michelle Anderton on 01772 432989 or vice chair Linda Wright on 01772 422347.