Wigtown BC Club Story
Wigtown Bowling Club in District 32 have been working in partnership with Dumfries and Galloway Active Schools to create a ‘Try Bowls Cluster Club,’ a project which has been highly successful in increasing awareness and participation in bowls. As recipients of a Co-op Community Fund from their local store in 2020, much work and improvements were made to the green and surrounds at the club during and since the pandemic. With improved facilities and relationships in place to encourage junior participation we were keen to find out more about their successful 2022 season.
Lewis McCulloch, the clubs local Active Schools Coordinator explained more about the project, which provided four come and try sessions throughout September, and the impact it is having on the wider community…
“We set up the project to stir up new interest in the sport and create new members for the club. I have coordinated the sessions with the club providing the facilities, mats, jacks and bowls with great friendly coaching from 6 volunteers from the club. It has created great interest from the local community and many people pop in and watch when the kids play. Families are now considering joining as they see the club as being forward thinking and inclusive.”
Now expecting to have 10 new junior members for the 2023 season, we spoke to Martin Gumersell, Secretary at Wigtown BC, who explained more about the strong community links the club has and how the relationships with the local primary school and Active Schools came about...
“Before the pandemic, our treasurer Caroline Scholefield, visited Wigtown Primary School. She set up an afternoon session with a class of youngsters who attended the Club for six sessions, introducing them to the game of bowls. Many members helped out with the project, which culminated in a final competition where all those taking part were presented with a medal. A local sponsor, Cronies Butchers, provided medals and a cup for the winner.
“We have always maintained strong community links locally. The Bowling Club is in the very centre of the town and our clubhouse is often used by various groups for their presentations and sometimes just a gathering for tea and coffee. We have housed various exhibitors during Wigtown week and Wigtown Book Festival. This year during the Book Festival we hosted a ‘soup kitchen’ on two Saturdays during the event, these were really well attended.”
Martin explained that there have also been a number of successes for Wigtown BC’s more competitive bowlers during the 2022 season with the list of achievements also including the junior members…
“During the season, we held three successful open tournaments, which were well attended. We were well represented in the Wigtownshire finals held at Whithorn. Brian ‘Tattie’ Tait won the Male Single Hand Competition, the Mixed Pairs was won by Laura Smithers and Brian ‘Tattie’ Tait and the Rinks was won by Dougie Bark, Declan Tait, Robert Bark and Brian ‘Tattie’ Tait. The Club also won the Galloway Estates Cup.
“12-year-old, Declan Tait reached the finals of the Wigtownshire under 17s and under 25s finals. He plays in open Club tournaments with his friend, 13-year-old Lucas Cluckie. Declan also represented the Junior County Triples in Bowls Scotland’s National Championships at Ayr. A very successful season.”
Bowls Scotland are delighted to see a club showing such dedication to introducing children to bowls and nurturing young talent within our sport. We look forward to hearing more from these promising juniors in the future. Thanks to Lewis and Martin for contacting us to share this story of partnership between Club and Active Schools with us.