The Hidden Gem in Snettisham

The Hidden Gem in Snettisham
Deputy Mayor Cllr Paul Bland cuts the ribbon to officially open the new clubhouse

Tucked away in Snettisham is an idyllic setting for lawn bowls, Snettisham Excelsior Bowls Club.

Initially founded as far back as 1898 they played their first season in 1899 with the club celebrating 125 years in existence this season.

This, however, doesn’t tell the whole story, as two years ago they were on their knees and it took a committed group of people to, basically, save and rejuvenate the club. Mo and Alan Stokes, Terry Jones and Tony Carr held an AGM and put into motion a project to make substantial improvements, turning a bumpy green into a higher quality lawn, building a new club house to replace the old caravan, improving the away changing rooms and toilets, and turning this quaint venue into something special. Roll on two years, and they are starting to flourish, attracting players of note to win the Eddie Hipkin Trophy in 2023. No mean feat.

WEB old caravan

The caravan that previously served as the clubhouse

WEB new clubhouse

The new clubhouse that also has a separate storage area

On Sunday, 28th April, Deputy Mayor of the Borough Council, Councillor Paul Bland, cut the ribbon to officially open the new club house to the delight of over 30 members who turned out to celebrate this momentous occasion whilst enjoying refreshments, buffet and a raffle to raise additional funds. Years ago, the venue was an orchard and the club have also designated an area on the grounds for fourteen heritage fruit tees - donated by Snettisham Parish Council - in recognition of its previous foundation.

WEB 6144

New heritage fruit trees have been planted

This really is a unique setting but as Mo says, “it is still work in progress and there is a long way to go yet, but we are proud of what we have achieved so far and are really looking forward to the new season”. Floundering in 2022 with just nine members, the club is now flourishing with over 30 members and invites old and new members down to enjoy the ambience created at this historic club.

WEB 6147

Mo Stokes shows Cllr Balnd the before and after pictures

WEB 6142

It has not been easy though and the hard work has certainly been aided with £2,500 from the Parish Council and the help of a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) grant of £9,374 for which the club would like to thank both Snettisham Parish Council and the CIL for enabling the project to happen. A delighted Paul added, “this is exactly what CIL money is for, to benefit the community”. EGS (Economy Gas Services) are the club sponsors, having provided the squad with new team shirts for the forthcoming season.

WEB 6146

Stuart Dark summed up all the efforts well, “I’ve seen first-hand how hard Mo, Al and all the volunteers at the club have worked over many months on the green, landscaping and facilities to bring them all up to a great standard. The increasing number of members and bright future for the club are a testament to their hard work. I am so glad that I was able to play a small part in this Snettisham success story by helping their bid for significant funding from the Borough Council’s CIL scheme”.

Snettisham Excelsior are represented in both the North West Norfolk and Countryside Leagues, kick starting their season on Wednesday, 1st May with a home fixture against Heacham at 7pm. For more information about joining you can contact the Club’s Secretary Terry Jones on 07766 243833. Alternatively, you can just pop down to ‘Roll Up’ on Sundays 2-4pm (the club is located behind Snettisham Parish Council Office).

The Latest News in North-West Norfolk