Cannock bowling green to be lost for beer garden
A bowling club is facing losing its long-standing home when it is turned into a beer garden next summer.
Members of Chadsmoor Progressive Bowling Club have lost a battle to keep their Burns Street green – one of the best known in the Midlands.
But the club has pledged to find a different Cannock venue for two popular tournaments earmarked for next year.
The green is at the back of Chadsmoor Progressive Working Men’s Club & Institute, which is under new ownership.
Club spokeswoman Lynn Pritchatt said: “The new owner has made the decision to convert the bowling green into a beer garden.
“Despite repeated and the best possible effort on the part of key members of the bowling club, the decision is made.
“I have no words to convey my deep sadness and feeling of loss all over again.
“Chadsmoor is one of the most iconic venues in our sport and I never ever imagined this day would come.”
But Ms Prichatt vowed that the Easter Monday Invitation Classic, which bears the names of her late partner Mel Evans and his father Les, and the George Pritchatt Memorial Ladies Classic tournaments will go ahead next year.
“Both tournaments will be staged at a different Cannock venue and I have commenced work on sourcing the best venue or venues possible,” she added.
The club dates back to the 1960s or even further, Ms Prichatt said, and welcomes about 1,000 people each season.
It hosts two main tournaments each season – The Les and Mel Evans Invitation Classic and the George Prichatt Memorial Ladies Classic – which attract players from all across the country.
Ms Pritchatt added: "Mel, my partner, was the glue that held this club together. He was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in April 2016 and died in 2017. When he was ill we lost a lot of players.
"So I'm going to carry on fighting to save this as long as there's breath in my body. It may seem futile but I can't let it go without a fight.
"It's not just about the sport, the club brings the whole community together."
Ms Pritchatt, who is head of business development at Walsall College but lives in Chadsmoor, said no-one at the club knew who the new owners were yet.
"We're trying to find out, so we can have a meeting with them and try and make our case," she added.
Locals have said the decision was a "huge blow" to the bowling world.
Fellow bowler Tony Dodd said: "Very very sad to hear this news. Chadsmoor was a superb club, a great venue and the members were second to none. A very very sad day in the local history of bowls.
"I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a Chadsmoor player and will never forget days like winning at Irlam."
Another keen player Claire Pugh added: "Shocked and saddened about this news. Had many a great tussle on Chadsmoor over the years, very sad times indeed."
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