New Herrington Bowls Club are gearing up for another bumper Bowls’ Big Weekend after a recent transformation in their fortunes.

Heading into 2021 the club had limited membership, something that club secretary Barry Thomas was keen to combat.

And last year’s Bowls’ Big Weekend - an event that saw over 600 clubs across the country open their doors for free, accessible taster sessions - was a crucial factor in the Houghton-le-Spring’s success, with membership almost tripling since Thomas’ arrival.

He said: “It is important because last year we did it using the Bowls England information and we found it very useful - we got 12 new members as a result of it. It is always good fun. There is tea, coffee and so on.

"We are doing Bowls’ Big Weekend on Saturday and Sunday this year. We will be open on both afternoons and inviting people along on both those dates.

"We will have the fun kit out to practice with, and provide some catering. It's all about the bowls really."

Thomas himself has had a significant impact on the club, which was close to folding with just a dozen members on the books less than two years ago.

He said: “I joined the club three years ago, and at that time, I was fairly new to bowls.

“At that time we had 12 members, and one of the guys, who was a friend of mine, asked if I could take over as secretary because the club was beginning to fold up.

“We organised open days with some help from Bowls England. We advertised widely on Facebook, and we also had fliers printed which were distributed around the village.

"I have to say the open day was very successful - I think we signed up 12 new members.

"What has been really good is that our female membership has improved significantly as well. We’ve gone from having zero women at the club to having 12.

"By the end of the first year, we went from 12 members to 39 members, which was fantastic.
“Now they are repeating Bowls’ Big Weekend this year, we are hoping for a membership of 50.”

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