Dunlop BC Club Story

One bowling club in East Ayrshire has grand plans to be recognised by local residents as a venue at the heart of the community.


Dunlop BC in District 28 has recently had a public access defibrillator (PAD) installed on their greenkeepers hut with help from St John Scotland. We spoke to Brian McGaw, Vice-President and Try Bowls coordinator at the club to find out more about this life-saving equipment and other plans for the upcoming season.

So, what sparked the decision to get a Defibrillator at the club and what was the process?

“The club committee had been thinking about getting a defibrillator for a while.  Although there is one at the Village Hall towards the bottom end of the village, we thought another one at the opposite end of the village would be very handy.  You never know when, or if, someone might be in need of some medical assistance, be it on the bowling green or someone taking ill nearby. 

We got in touch with Jess, a local resident who is involved with St John Scotland and the process started from there.”

Due to the Covid pandemic, the committee were unable to host any fundraising events for the PAD but knowing the importance of this lifesaving equipment to their members and the wider community, financed the project themselves. The committee kept club members up to date with the progress of the project via the clubs Facebook page and in committee meeting minutes.

“The club is always looking for ways to engage with the local community, be it through social events or our regular Try Bowls throughout the season.  We feel that, with the addition of the defibrillator, we are enhancing the health and safety of the villagers and providing reassurance to the local community.”

Every week in Scotland, around 70 people have a cardiac arrest at home, work or in a public place. To be most effective, a defibrillator needs to be used within a few minutes of collapse – which is why having them easily accessible in communities, in places like bowling clubs, can make such a big difference. As part of their Community Defibrillator Scheme, St John Scotland offer free CPR and defibrillator training for the community after installation of a PAD.

“17 members of the club attended the St John’s CPR training.  Some had some previous first aid experience, and some not.  All found it to be very useful.  The more members we can get to do CPR training, the better.  Particularly now that we have a defibrillator on the side of our greenkeepers hut.    

“You never know when you are going to need someone with first aid training, be it in the clubhouse or out on the green.  In my 9 years with the club we have only had two instances when we have had to call for medical help.  However, our club president, Douglas Reid, has organised a First Aid Course in the clubhouse for Sat 26th March, 2022.  Getting more members First Aid trained, coupled with the addition of our defibrillator should prove reassuring to our members throughout the bowling season and at social events throughout the year.”

At the end of the 2021 season, Bowls Scotland surveyed its member clubs and found the number one priority for the 2022 season was membership growth, a sentiment that is echoed by Dunlop BC as they look ahead to the start of the season. We asked Brian what the plans were for the season ahead…

“Hopefully, to have a full bowling season with all our club competitions being played and hosting and visiting other clubs for fixtures, open competitions etc...

“To keep trying to attract new members.  We are a small club, like many others in Scotland, and are always on the lookout for new members.  We have managed to get one or two new members in each of the past few seasons and have three new members joining this year.  So, a good sign!

“In 2019, prior to Covid, we got artificial bankings put on the green, got work done to the pathways around the green, and at the greenkeepers hut end of the green we removed the hedge, put up a new timber fence and now have a lovely area for members and visitors to sit out in the sun.  All this financed by grants obtained by our very hard-working treasurer Dan Moore. Hopefully, now that the Covid restrictions are getting less and less, and returning to a normal bowling season, we will get more use of this lovely area of the ground.”

Dunlop BC have held Try Bowls events in the past to recruit new members to the club and have plans for more events for members and the community this season.

“We will continue our Try Bowls this summer.  I persuaded the committee to host our Try Bowls on each Saturday of the season through to the end of August.  One of the attendees decided to join the club midway through the summer, so that was a result. We are also planning some ‘Fun Days’ throughout the summer to attract more families to the club.

“Our ‘Social Man’ Scott Gibson has events planned throughout the summer and does a great job of promoting these events through posters, social media etc, and we do get well supported by the local community.

One of the popular events within the community is our Saturday Bingo sessions, organised by Janet and Carol Anne. They started about a year before Covid came in, are very enjoyable and well supported by the local community. Our next planned event is a Gin Night on Sat 9th April.  Race-nights and quiz-nights are also on the agenda.

“Prior to Covid coming in, our secretary John organised a Secret Chef competition running over 6 weeks or so, where he “persuaded” some members and non-members to cook a meal for the members and guests and, at the end of the season, the winner was chosen and presented with their prize at our club presentation evening.  That may re-emerge this season! We will also continue making the club available for private functions, meetings and so on when requested.”

Bowls Scotland thank Brian for his time in providing a snapshot of the activity going on this season at Dunlop BC and are delighted to have begun working in collaboration with St John Scotland to help our member clubs find information and support on public access defibrillators.

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