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Club Committee & Trophies 1987

Back row :  J Parry, A Blunt, E Groves, M Redford,
M Box, R Stevenson
Front row :  J Brady, J Laborde, A J Idle [President],
A Burgess [Captain], R Owen, J Stevens

Club 50th Anniversary Committee 2005

Back row:  M Blackburn, J Stevens, M Box,  
G Mann, P Llewellyn.
Front row:  B Bayliss, C Bennett [Captain], 
A Sharman [President],  J Laborde [Chairman], 
J Gledhill

The Founding and Brief History of

1954 - The Beginning

On the wet evening of Tuesday 24 August 1954 the Mayor of Hove, Councillor A H Dilley, sent down two woods to officially open a new seven rink bowling green in Knoll Recreation Ground, Hangleton.


Formerly known as Hudson’s Tip this had been an area where the rubbish from Hove was dumped and the transformation into a pleasant park with a panoramic view of the seas to the south and, until future development obstructed it, a glimpse of the rolling downs to the north, was the work of the Council to provide an amenity for the northern inhabitants of the town. The total cost, including purchase of the land, lay out and construction - including conversion of a war time civil defence hut into a pavilion for sportsmen and public toilets - was £6,584  However the Ministry of Education made a grant of £1,129 towards these cost reducing the figure to £5,455  The green was sea-washed Cumberland turf which had been grown from seed by the Council’s Parks and Gardens Dept. and the first groundsman was Mr S W Grice who had been Sussex Singles Champion two years earlier.
[Evening Argus: August 1954]

A Preliminary Meeting, convened by Mr A J Sumner, to consider the formation of a Lawn Bowling Club was held at the bowling green in Knoll Recreation Ground on 23 October 1954 attended by: Councilor Gosling, Messrs Annand, Chatterley, Dew, Diffin, Gibbins, Idle, Legg, Massey, Mortimer, Moses, Nichol, Spinks, Styles, Sumner, Ward, Mrs Legg, Miss Parton, Mrs Spinks and Mrs Sumner together with Councilor Chesshire and Mr Hyland - Chairman and Superintendent respectively of the Parks and Garden Committee of Hove Corporation.

This was followed on 4 December 1954 at 2.30pm by the Inaugural Meeting of Hangleton Bowling Club.  Founder Members in attendance were: Councilor C F Gosling, Messrs J C Annand, W H Ashby, W M Carr, W Chatterley, G W Dew, H Mortimer, J Nichol, L G Ridge, S H Spinks, A J Sumner, C A Wiltshire, Miss M Parton, Mrs Spinks and Mrs Sumners.  Apologies were received from: Councilor Chesshire and Messrs R N Massey, F H Gibbins and Mr and Mrs Legg.

The meeting elected the Club’s first Committee:
Chairman: Clr CF Gosling; Secretary: AJ Sumner; Treasurer: SH Spinks;
Match Secretary: JC Annand; and four Members: CA Wiltshire, G Dew, H Mortimer and L Ridge.
The positions of Captain and Vice Captain were left for the Committee to appoint.

The first A.G.M. on 19 November 1955 was attended by 25 members: Councilor C F Gosling, Messrs Annand, Buckland, Carr, Chatterley, Cooper, Dawson, Dew, Feist, Fuller, Markes, Massey, Mortimer, Moses, Ridge, Shaw, Spinks, Starr, Watkins and Wiltshire and Madames Cooper, Fuller, Ridge, Spinks and Sumner. Apologies from Mr Sumner and Mr and Mrs Legg.

The second A.G.M. On 21 November 1956 was the first to be held in the evening and attracted slightly less members [21]: Councilor C F Gosling, Messrs Annand, Baguley, Buckland, Carr, Chatterley, Cooper, Dawson, Dean, Dew, Feist, Massey, Mortimer, Parker, Ridge, Spinks, Starr, Tye, Watkins and Wiltshire and Madames Ridge, Spinks and Starr. Apologies from Mr and Mrs Legg., Ashby, Page and Watkins.

In 1954 under Club Rule 3 each year the Mayor of Hove was invited to be Club President. This was changed at the fifth A.G.M. on 24 November 1959 when the position of President was added to the Club Officers elected annually under Rule 4 At the same time the sitting mayor was invited to become Club Patron.

The 1958 AGM noted the Club had been invited to play the English Bowling Federation Touring team at Hangleton on 21 May 1959 but there was a requirement that all players ‘must wear white flannels’

At the 1959 meeting the club voted to introduce its first dress code ‘that Whites be worn next season when playing against teams who already play in Whites.’  Whites remained the Club’s dress code for 47 years until 2005 when it was agreed shirts with coloured collars and cuffs be would be introduced in 2006 for all League matches. A year later this was revised so coloured shirts were worn for all matches. Then in 2018 the Club Management Committee agreed to adopt modern design shirts which were purchased with substantial financial support from a local Sponsor.

Club Members 2005

50th anniversary of club's founding

60th Anniversary Celebrations: 2015

Wednesday 12 August:

The Club played against a Sussex County Bowls team led by the County President with Officers & Members of the County Executive

Front row [l to r] : Don Kent [Past President], Reg Strong [Steyning BC], Bob Henstridge [Vicarage BC], John Abbott [Treasurer],

Clive Bennett [Asst Secretary], Pam Symons [Hangleton Club Captain], Ken Woodcock [County President],

Vic Sherwood [Past President], David Bain [Former Secretary], Brian Henty [Match Secretary], Rod McBeth [Secretary],

Colin Morphew [Immediate Past President], Roger Parsond [Norfolk BC] & Ross Clifton [Past President].

[Immediately behind the County President: Mike Biggs - Competitions Secretary [left] and Tony Sharman - Past President [right]

Friday 24 April : New Season Opening

The City’s Mayor and Mayoress, Councillor Brian Fitch and his wife Nora, made the annual tour of city Bowling Club’s to bowl the first wood and declare the Green’s open for the 2015 Season.

At Hangleton it had an added significance as this year the Club celebrates its 60th Anniversary and here the Mayor, who as a Councillor represents the Hangleton Ward, was joined by the two other local Councillors Dawn Barnett and Tony Janio.

The Mayor and Mayoress were welcomed by the Club’s President Derrick Aylward and Captain Pam Symons. The Mayor was then invited to bowl the first wood and to formally open the new season and the Lady Mayoress also joined in the bowling. After the formal opening everyone retired to the Clubhouse where the Mayor cut a special cake to mark the occasion then congratulated the Club on achieving the milestone of 60 years and wished the Club many more years of bowling.

The Club has a unique connection to the office of Mayors which goes back to 1954 when, on 24 August, the then Mayor of Hove,Alderman A.H. Dilley officially opened the new Green by bowling the first wood. Eight weeks later the Bowling Club was established and commenced playing in the 1955 Season. Alderman Dilley also accepted an invitation to become the Club’s first President, a post that was held by successive Mayors of Hove for the next 5 years. At the same time Councillor C.F. Gosling became the Club’s first Chairman and each presented the Club with a competitions Trophy both of which are still contested annually today.

The Mayor and Mayoress cutting the Hangleton Bowling Club 60th Anniversary cake which is flanked on either side by the two cups donated in 1955 by the then Mayor of Hove Alderman A H Dilley and Councillor C F Gosling. Also in the ‘photo just beyond the Mayor are two current Hangleton Councillors Dawn Barnett and Tony Janio.

Club History

More recently C J ‘Jack’ Laborde held office for 31 consecutive years: Captain 1981-82, Chairman 1983-90 and 1995-2011 and President 1991-2002 while Peter Llewellyn [nine years 2002-10] became the joint longest serving Club Treasurer matching S H Spinks term of office.

The Club’s major trophies were also donated by early Members. G H Dew [the first Club Champion] presented the Club Singles Championship cup, Alderman A H Dilley - the Mayor who performed the opening ceremony - presented the Club’s Pairs Championship cup and Councilor C F Gosling donated the Club’s ‘Fixed Jack’ cup.  W M Carr donated two cups - Mixed Pairs Winner and Singles Championship losing Finalist. C Buckland, who attended the first A.G.M., later donated a cup for the Lead bowler in the Club Pairs Championship and W Baguley who attended the second A.G.M. donated a cup now presented to the Men’s Handicap Championship losing Finalist.

Although a number of ladies attended the inaugural meeting of the club and early AGM’s it is clear from the first Constitution and early minutes that Hangleton BC was formed as a men’s club. Rule 15, headed ‘Ladies Section’ stated ‘A ladies section may be formed but it shall be governed and controlled entirely by themselves and no lady may participate in the general administration of the club.’ In addition first AGM recorded that the Chairman pointed out that under the Rules of Sussex County Bowls Association Lady Members of the Club were precluded from voting for the election of Officers of the Club.

The minutes of all early AGM’ listed those present either by names of men or total number of Members followed by further entry listing individual names of ladies attending. Occasional references to ladies were always about services provided, usually teas, catering and fund raising events. This probably accounts for the first two nominations for Life Members both being ladies associated with support and assistance for the club.

Not until the 1977 AGM was there a clear indication of the position of ladies within the club when they were all referred to as Associate Members: “Consideration was given to the ladies associate members of the club and as their numbers were now stronger numerically I was agreed to try and form these into a more organised section with their own officers etc.” It went on to say the ladies were asked to meet immediately after the AGM to discuss the possibility. This led directly to the formation of Hangleton Ladies Bowling Club which played its first matches in 1978

From the outset the club organised an annual dinner originally in December but later slightly earlier for a periods this became a dinner dance combined with the formal presentation of trophies to the season’s competition finalists more recently this has reverted to a dinner but still the occasion at which trophies are presented.

The original annual Subscription was 10 shillings and six pence [52½ pence] but no mention of any other fees. In 1963 Match fees are set at 2 shillings [10 pence] and in 1969 three shillings and six pence [17½ pence]. For 1974 subscription rose to £1 and in 1981 to £3 Meanwhile in 1980 Season tickets were available for £20 and individual sessions cost 70 pence and five years later these had risen to £33 and £1.25 In 1989 The club entered in to discussions with Hove Borough Council about a lease  and this was introduced in 1990 at an annual fee of £3,325 with Season tickets at £45 By 2002 the Leasing fee had increased to £5,475 but the following year received a discount due to poor maintenance of the Green and cost £5,000. Hove Borough had merged with Brighton in 2000 to form Brighton and Hove City and when the  Lease expired in 2005 the new Council was faced with wide variations in leasing arrangements across the 16 clubs in the City running from a peppercorn rent right through from £500 to £5,500 per annum. At that point it introduce a standard approach of charging every Club the cost of a Season ticket for each of its Members.

Membership rose steadily from 16 men and 4 ladies at the inaugural meeting to a constant figure of around 70 men by the late 80’s. In 1987 the Club considered, but rejected, a proposal to limit the number of Members and create a waiting list. Membership reached its peak in the late 90’ when joint membership of the Men’s and Ladies clubs was just over 100 Thoughout its history Hangleton had a record and reputation for being a progressive club. In 1991-2 with the assistance of a Grant Aid from the Foundation for Sport and the Arts Members designed and built an extension to the Club House, opened by Councillor Audrey Buttimer, Mayor of Hove, on 24 April 1992. The following winter external dressing rooms were also constructed by members alongside the main building at a cost of approx. £2,500.  Two years later the club installed an automatic watering system for the Green at a cost of £7,085, a couple of years before the Council installed similar facilities to other Greens.

Originally the Green had a simple low fence along side the path through the park but following misuse of the playing surface by vandals in 2006 negotiated with the Council for this to be replaced with a two meter high fence both alongside the path and to the rear of the Club House. Two years later this was realigned to include the area immediately in front of the dressing rooms which had previously been an unused and overgrown part of the park

In 1988 the Club travelled by coach to the New Forest to play Brockenhurst. This became an annual fixture played every year until 2019 only missing 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic that struck the country.

The club also introduced games further afield and even mini tours, organised independently for them by a Club Member, including Torquay in 1994, the Isle of Wight in 98 and Bath in 2000 From 2001 the organisation of tours became part of the Club’s Match Secretary’s role with a match each day of a three day tours to Dorchester [2001], Ramsgate [2002], Bournemouth [2003], Oxford [2004], two single day trips in 2005 , the Club’s 50th Anniversary year, to Bournemouth and Canterbury, Bury St Edmunds [2006], Corby [2007], Cheltenham [2008], Derbyshire [2009] and Devizes [2010].

Over the years eight male Members of the Club have played for Sussex and been awarded their County Badge:

1989 Ken Holden and Ron Owen;  1994 Simon Ede;  2001 Jack Laborde;  2003 Tony Sharman;  2010 Clive Bennett;

2014 Kevin Prescott and  2015 Ted James.

Two Ladies have also been awarded their County badge: 1994 Judith Redford and Pam Symons.

Both enjoyed success in County Competitions:

Judith :  2 Wood Singles Winner 1998 and Finalist 1991;

Pam :  Singles Champion 1997 and Finalist 1994; 2 Wood Singles Finalist 1999  

Various Members have featured in senior administrative rolls both for the County and the Brighton, Hove and District Bowling League:

Sussex County PRESIDENT 2010 :   Tony Sharman

Sussex County Honourable Member 2016 :   Clive Bennett

Sussex County Assistant Secretary 2009-16 :   Clive Bennett

Sussex County Divisional Selector 2016-20 :   Clive Bennett

Sussex County Divisional VP Controller 2007-15 :   Clive Bennett

Brighton, Hove District League PRESIDENT 1991-3 :  Jack Laborde and 2007-9 : Clive Bennett

Brighton, Hove District League Chairman 1986-7 & 1990 :  Jack Laborde

Brighton, Hove District League Secretary 1990-4 :  Bert Burgess and 2003-8 : Clive Bennett

Club Members  2012

‘Fun Day’ fancy dress match

Judith Redford and

Pam Symons : Sussex 1998

Clive Bennett

Sussex 2018

Triples Team : 22 August 2020 v Barcombe : Won 48 - 33

[ Left to right ]   Roy Laker [Men’s Champion 2017, 18].      Marilyn Foster [coach].      Eddy Sears [Captain] & coach.

Pam Symons [Ladies Champion 1996, 97, 99, 2003, 04, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19]

Ray Symons [Men’s Champion 2008].  Jerry Lineham. Secrertary 2021].  Dave Stevens [Men’s Champion 1998, 99].

Sylvia Rodrigues [Ladies Champion 2013].      Clive Bennett [President : Men’s Champion 2012, 14]

Several of the Founder Members went on to give distinguished service to the club for almost twenty years: L G Ridge was Captain 1956/7, the first elected President 1960-63 and Chairman 1962/3  He was succeeded as President from 1964 to 1968 by W M Carr and 1969 to 72 by S H Spinks - who had previously been Captain 1960-62, Chairman 1964-68 and the Club’s first Treasurer 1955-63   A J Sumner, who was largely responsible for forming the club, was the first Captain in 1955, Chairman in 1957 and Secretary 1955/6 but left the club in 1957 to be succeeded as Secretary for the next 13 years by J C Annand - 1957-69  A J Idle was Club President 1984 to 1990 and E L Tye who attended the second A.G.M. was Chairman for 4 years - 1958 to 61

Men’s Club Members 1962   :  L G Ridge - President [centre]


In 1957 the Club’s AGM unanimously rejected a suggestion that it should join the Brighton, Hove and District Bowling League and then in 1959 noted that ‘the question of joining the Brighton, Hove and District Bowling League had again been raised but decided to leave this in abeyance until the following season. In 1960 Members agreed to enter the League Division ‘B’ for the following season and this was repeated for each of the next three seasons including 1963 when it was suggested the club should remain in the League as it improved player’s game. There was a comment that the Club should play 2 wood games in practices to get members used to this type of game to which it was noted that members were playing much better this season than previously.  But in 1964, following yet another AGM discussion, there was a vote against continuing membership of the League and not for another fifteen years did the Club again considered the idea.

Then in 1979 the AGM it was proposed that apply to be accepted into the League with effect from 1981 This was confirmed in 1980 when the AGM noted the League anticipated launching a new Division in 1981 incorporating Hangleton. [by now the League had expanded from 12 to 29 teams and this time Hangleton had to join in Division 5]

In 1986 the team was promoted as Champions of Division 5 and the following year the team were again promoted as Champions to Division 3


In 1988 the Club entered a ‘B’ team in Division 6 and in 1991 that was promoted as Champions to Division 5

The 1992 season was mixed with the ‘A’ team promoted as Champions to Division 2 but the ‘B’ team relegated to Division 5 In 1993 with the League extended to seven Divisions this was reversed with the ‘A’ team relegated to Division 3 and the ‘B’ team promoted as Champions to Division 5

While the ‘A’ team then remained well established in Division 3 the ‘B’ team’s fortunes fluctuated between Divisions 5 and 7 until 2008 when following relegation from Division 5 the ‘B’ team was withdrawn from the League.

Meanwhile in 2007 the ‘A’ team was promoted to Division 2 and then suffered two quick relegations 2009 from Division 2 and 2010 from Division 3 and is currently in Division 4

In the League’s Bill Hawkins Cup competition the Club’s most successful season was 2002 when the Club reached the Final before losing to Hove and Kingsway ‘B’

Bill Hawkins Cup Finalists 2002 left – right: Mick Box, Jack McLellan, Ken Paul,

   Allan Ross,  Allan Amey, Ray Symons, Tony [A] Sharman and Kevin Prescott