A BOWLING club's need to raise £11,000 for new floodlights has led to fundraising events for the appeal beginning in the town.

Ellesmere Bowling Club, in Church Hill, lays claim to being one of the oldest in the world with a history of more than 300 years, and is at the start of a mammoth fundraising journey.

The club plays in a number of floodlit leagues and its current lights are around 40 years old, and their replacement is just one of many jobs needed for the green and its surroundings.

Gerard Brooke-Bennett, from the bowling club, said they are already looking to different forms of fundraising – such as lottery funding – but will need help with the floodlights.

"Ellesmere bowling club is possibly the oldest bowling club in England," he said.

"What we really need is a rich benefactor or two?

"We are currently applying for a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant, but in a conversation with them, they would only be interested in the pathway as this is used by a large number of visitors to both the castle site and the conversation area around the club site, and the disabled toilet proposal.

"One of our members has come across a book which features a photo of the club house dated from 1750.

"We are also unique in that our top green, which is the old motte of Ellesmere Castle, is circular where most bowling greens are square or oblong.

"Any help you can offer would be gratefully appreciated."


As well as £11,000 for the floodlights, the club has identified a series of projects that will help modernise and improve the facilities.

For example, £9,000 each would be needed to be spent on green irrigation and a pathway allow better access, £7,000 for a new mower plus £12,000 for a new disabled toilet, among other projects.

Gerard continued: "The long-term aim would be to replace this collection of huts with a purpose made building of at least four metres wide, which could include the toilet mentioned above if not already retained, which could cost up to £75,000."

The first fundraiser is a quiz night at the Ellesmere Hotel on Saturday, September 17 for a 7.30pm start with teams of four at £2.50 per person.

Then a week later, there is a combined pool and darts competition at the Black Lion Hotel, Ellesmere.

Registration is 12.30pm and entry is £5 per head.