Club to celebrate centenary in park

Hirst Park at Ashington.
REF 2907134149
Hirst Park at Ashington. REF 2907134149

A bowling club is celebrating its centenary with a special match this weekend.

Hirst Park Bowling Club is working with the Heritage Lottery Fund on future improvements at the park in Ashington.

The club is 100 years old this year and has arranged a friendly match on Sunday at 2pm between current and past club members along with players from other clubs affiliated to the Northumberland County Bowls Association (NCBA Three-a-side).

Hirst Park was opened in 1915 and the Bowling Club formed in 1916.

John Slaughter, secretary of the bowling club and NCBA (Three-a-side) president, said: “Hirst Park initially joined the Northumberland and Durham Bowling Association and in 1936 supported the formation of a new County Association, which later became the current county bowls association (NCBA Three-a-side).

“Throughout the years the club has been one of the most successful in Northumberland. We always welcome new members and all spectators are invited to attend and anyone wishing to learn the game or become a member would be welcome.”

The centenary event coincides with the planning and development currently undertaken to secure a grant for the revitalisation of the whole of Hirst Park

Funding of £139,300 has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund, and Northumberland County Council and Ashington Town Council are contributing £12,400.

Among the Hirst Revival project plans are recreating the lost garden of Hirst and Flower Park opened up; horticultural training; research activities and events; a play zone; and the former site of the Woodhorn monument developed into a community performance and interpretation space.

Coun Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services at Northumberland County Council, said: “It is great to see the bowling club celebrating its centenary of operating in the park.”

“Clubs like this are the lifeblood of recreation areas like this – and I am sure that future developments will help to sustain this and other clubs and organisations which enjoy the facilities.

“The Heritage Lottery Fund project will protect the park and its heritage for the community for another century and enable generations to play, learn and relax in a wonderful space.”

The coal mining heritage of the park and local area will play a big part in the long term project with events, activities and interpretation resources being developed to explore and tell its story.

For more information about the centenary bowls games contact secretary John Slaughter on 01670 812523, 07828 248885 or email johncompsec@gmail.com