A former world champion bowls player has praised a Daventry initiative to promote the sport more widely.
Tony Allcock MBE, who won 14 world indoor and outdoor singles and pairs titles between 1992 and 2002, said the Bowls Daventry scheme exemplified the way clubs can work together to boost the sport.
Clubs in the town have seen a 40 per cent increase in membership for short mat and outdoor bowls since the launch of Bowls Daventry in 2014.
Bowls Daventry saw the separate bowls teams in the town unite to promote their sport in order to attract new players.
Mr Allcock, a Commonwealth silver medal winner and the current chief executive of Bowls England, said: “The promotion of the sport and recruitment of new players remains our number one priority.
“The Bowls Daventry project is an excellent example of clubs working together for their mutual benefit, and the progress so far has been excellent. I trust that clubs across the area will begin to reap the rewards in terms of new members who will provide a long-term boost to the sport both locally and nationally.”
Susan Cooper, of the Bowls Development Alliance (BDA), also praised the work being done in Daventry.
She said: “The Bowls Development Alliance have been delighted to be able to support the Bowls Daventry project and to see it successfully increase memberships across a range of clubs from a range of codes.
“By working collaboratively under the Bowls Daventry umbrella, the number of people playing bows in Daventry is increasing and we look forward to sharing elements of this work with clubs and organisations nationwide”
The inaugural president Hedley Bowen, who is also manager of the Bowls England Junior Team is delighted with progress and is looking forward to helping with developing the junior bowling talent in Daventry.
Mark Courtney, Bowls Daventry project manager, said: “Bowls Daventry had such a great start under the presidency of Hedley Bowen and the project will always be in his debt. He gave us the national exposure we needed and his guidance proved invaluable.
Bowls Daventry was developed from a national initiative by Bowls England to increase the membership of lawn bowls clubs.
Community fun days and tournaments, special coaching sessions and a series of open days and roadshows in the town centre have all been held in the last year. The group, which is supported by Daventry District Council, also raised more than £500 for the Northamptonshire and Warwickshire Air Ambulance with a target of £1,700 which is the cost of one rescue.
The Bowls Daventry project is now attracting interest from other sports, and Mike Robins has announced the rebirth of a Daventry Mens Hockey team playing league hockey. Ross Macindoe a previous chairman of Daventry Hockey Club has agreed to be chairman of the new team.
Bowls Daventry is also working with more sports and hopes to have more good news over the coming weeks to increase participation in more sports to promote Daventry as a great place for all to make their home.
Follow Bowls Daventry on Twitter @BowlsDaventry, or look up the Facebook group ‘Bowls Daventry. For more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org