Good news on seafront greens

Bowlers (from left) Bernard Audley, Ron Mizon, Peter Ashton, Hilda Bielby, Betty Anderton and Rita Mizon
Bowlers (from left) Bernard Audley, Ron Mizon, Peter Ashton, Hilda Bielby, Betty Anderton and Rita Mizon

FLEETWOOD Bowls Festival will be pressing ahead on the town’s seafront as usual this year.

The traditional stage in the Marine Gardens had been under threat with Wyre Borough considering closing the greens because of a re-design of the area.

But bowlers who raised a petition are delighted that they will be able to stage their traditional event on two of the four greens that will remain after the £800,000 Sea Change work in the gardens.

Committee member Peter Jose said: “We have been told we can have two greens on the seafront although, because of the work, we won’t have normal access. We will have to approach them from the central car park.

“But the festival is going ahead.”

The festival, and other bowlers who use the area, still have no assurances about the long-term future of the greens.

But Mr Jose said: “Even if those greens go the festival will continue. We have to because we have built it up so our events are qualifiers for the Champion of Champions event at the end of the season.”

The five-day festival has provided a financial boost for the area over its 31-year history. The men’s event attracts 250 bowlers and 180 enter the ladies’ event. Families who come with the entrants boost the numbers.

Because two greens have been lost to the Sea Change work, the festival will employ the greens of the Belmont Bowling Club further along the seafront, two greens in the Memorial Park will be used and Fleetwood Bowling Club is also opening its doors.

Mr Jose added: “That’s why people come to the festival – because they are round the greens on the seafront.

“If we lost them, hopefully the festival would not suffer.”

Festival committee member Rita Mizon added: “People like the positions of the greens: They say it’s like a stage because people are walking past and they stop and watch and you can get a big crowd, so the greens are popular.”

A Wyre Council spokeswoman said: “The greens are predominantly used by casual bowlers and during the popular five-day Wyre Bowls Festival which attracts hundreds of competitors in the summer season.

“It is not regularly utilised throughout the year by a bowling club and we need to look at the different opportunities available to enhance the greens before a final decision is made.”