Campaigners say they have been ‘overwhelmed’ to receive so much support for their drive to find a new indoor bowls centre in Gainsborough.
The search began when the council decided to close the bowling hall at West Lindsey Leisure Centre and turn it into a health and wellbeing hub as part of a £1.4 million revamp.
The decision stunned the bowlers, most of whom are pensioners, and they claimed that they were being discriminated against “because we are old”.
Not even a petition carrying 2,000 signatures could change the minds of West Lindsey District Council, who said it was no longer viable to keep open a hall that was used only for six months of the year during the winter.
Since the controversy, members of the Riverside Indoor Bowls Club have been busy raising funds and generating support for a new venue elsewhere in the town.
And after 16 months of various events, they felt it was time to thank all those who had offered their help.
Linda Grocock, trustee of the club, said: “It is a mammoth task to find a new venue and return indoor bowls to Gainsborough. But we believe it is possible, and we have put hundreds of hours into this challenge.
“We have been overwhelmed by support from local shops and businesses, and we feel there is a lot of goodwill around the district towards our campaign.
“Indoor bowls helps the older generation, both physically and mentally, and we also aim to involve younger age groups as well.”
The bowls hall had operated at the leisure centre since 1990, and users said it not only provided the elderly with exercise but also gave them a good reason to get out and socialise.
The council felt the space could be much better utilised if it was available for a variety of sports, leisure and wellbeing activities all year round. It promised to help the bowlers find a new venue.
The bowls club’s latest event was a quiz night at the Gainsborough Blues Club which raised £450. Other fundraising has come from table-top sales, stalls at fairs, E-bay sales, raffles and private donations. Anyone keen to support the campaign is asked to call Linda on 01427 614682.
She added: “Our bowlers are happy playing outdoors at the moment. But from September to May, they will have no indoor home, so they will have to travel for a second winter to venues outside Gainsborough. Please help if you can.”