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Blind Bowls Club in urgent appeal for new members and volunteers

PUBLISHED: 10:30 27 July 2017

Lowestoft Blind Bowls club are looking for new members to join.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Lowestoft Blind Bowls club are looking for new members to join. Picture: Nick Butcher

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A bowls club for the blind or visually impaired is appealing for new players and volunteers.

The club has seen its membership decline in recent years. Picture: Nick ButcherThe club has seen its membership decline in recent years. Picture: Nick Butcher

Lowestoft Blind Bowls Club has been operating since the mid-1970s, but the the number of players has declined in recent years.

As well as new players, the group is in desperate need of helpers and markers who assist players while they compete in games.

Club captain Bob Chambers said: “At the moment, we really haven’t got enough people to play matches, especially helpers.”

“A lot of our members are in their 80s and they get to the stage where they can’t participate any more.

As well as appealing for new players, the club urgently requires helpers to assist its visually impaired bowlers. Picture: Nick ButcherAs well as appealing for new players, the club urgently requires helpers to assist its visually impaired bowlers. Picture: Nick Butcher

“If we haven’t got helpers, we simply can’t bowl.”

Meeting every Wednesday morning, the club plays its matches at Kensington Gardens in the summer and the Railway Club in the winter.

Three qualified coaches are available to train players who require help, while volunteers are trained as helpers or markers in order to assist the bowlers.

Club secretary Gail Hepworth, who has been visually impaired since 1984 and regularly competes internationally, emphasised how important bowls can be for those with poor eyesight.

During the summer, members play at Lowestoft's Kensington Gardens every Wednesday morning. Picture: Nick ButcherDuring the summer, members play at Lowestoft's Kensington Gardens every Wednesday morning. Picture: Nick Butcher

She explained: “People get isolated when they lose their eyesight; it’s frightening,

“Bowls is a way of socialising and meeting new people with a common interest.

“I was informed by social services there was a local blind bowls club, but I’m not sure they do that any more.”

The club’s members are classified depending on the severity of their visual impairment, with players who are totally blind classed as B1.

Eyesight improves slightly in B2 and B3 players, whereas those who are just about able to see across the whole green are B4.

“In official competition the classifications would be separated, but we simply don’t have enough players to do that,” said Mr Chambers.

“People looking to join us wouldn’t have to worry about transport because we have a minibus that picks people up right outside their doors.”

Anyone interested in joining Lowestoft Blind Bowls Club as a player or helper, or wanting more details, should call Bob Chambers on 01502 450307.

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