The bowling community has rallied to help a club devastated by a fire. Saddened members of Gilfach Bowling Club near Bargoed said they are determined to rebuild after the blaze and thanked those who have sent donations.
More than £3,500 has been raised through a GoFundMe page launched by Barry Athletic Bowling Club and £500 from an already planned barbecue which Gilfach Bowling Club went ahead with.
The club building was gutted in the blaze on June 1. Irreplaceable trophies, photographs and equipment from the club’s 94-year history have gone.
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The only items were salvaged at the last orders at the barbell, the club’s 1928–1998, 70th Anniversary Plaque and the 1958 team photo, the club, which boasted a clutch of international players. The club was due to host a game on Saturday but although the bowling green lawn is unaffected the area is fenced off. Instead, members will play away to Ebbw Vale, said secretary Carl Mounty.
“I drive past every day and seeing it brings tears to my eyes. It’s absolutely devastating,” said Carl. “We have lost everything. All the facilities, the bar, the photos, trophies and people’s bowls and clothing.
“We need to see what we can do now to rebuild, the building was insured. The response to what happened has been amazing and we want to thank everyone in the bowls community for their support.”
Former Secretary Bryan Harris, who has been a member for 38 years, said he could not believe it when he was alerted to the fire.
“We’d built up a strong club and it was a bit of a community hub. We had a quiz every Thursday and a bar and big screen. We welcomed anybody in.
“All the clubs around Gilfach have offered to help. Llanbradach Bowling Club has raised £200 and people have been ringing up with donations. We’ve had help from all the way up to Merthyr.”
The club, which has 26 men and 16 women members, has a strong history boasting international players Rita Jones, Audrey and Paul Mullins, Carl Wood, Craig Williams and Kristian Crocker. Current members include Welsh under-18 international Jack Mounty.
In a message of thanks to those who have supported them since the blaze Gilfach Bowling Club said it had lost its clubhouse but not its spirit and had gone ahead with planned Jubilee celebrations on June 2 in an area away from the burned out clubhouse.
In messages on its Facebook page, the club said: “Thank You from All of Us. Well what a turnout we had yesterday, we are lost for words. We raised a total of £500 just from darts, raffle and food . so much to Nicola Lee Mullins and Paul MacDonald for doing all the shopping, setting up for the day and manning the BBQ, John Davies for your kind donation of food. competition.
“We are now up to over £3,000 on the gofundme page which is incredible! If you haven’t already, you can donate here to help our beloved club get back up and running!”