Michael (Mike) Kirkland 9.11.23
It is with great sadness we have to inform you that Michael Kirkland passed away peacefully at home, with his wife Viv and two daughters Karen and Johanne by his side, on the 9th November.
Michael played bowls since moving to Okehampton with Viv in 1997 and has been a much-loved club member. He spent many happy hours on the green and socialising with friends at the club.
He will be sorely missed by everyone and we pass our condolences to Viv and family at this sad time.
Mike’s funeral will be held on Wednesday December 6th at 2-30pm at Exeter Crematorium, followed by a wake at the Bowls Club
Presentation of the Memorial Seat, in memory of Arthur Griffiths, who sadly passed away on 23.03.23.
The seat was donated by Linda Griffiths, Arthur’s wife, and presented to the Club on November 13th 2023.
The seat is made of recycled plastics and is completely maintenance-free.
Earlier in the year, Linda also generously presented the club with the Arthur Griffiths Memorial Cup.
The first Mixed Pairs competition to win the trophy was held on September 24th 2023 when it was won by Iris Gill and James Burdus, with Maria and Jon Randall worthy runners-up.
Viv Kirkland and Sue Hunt won the Ladies Unbadged County Pairs Final on a wet day in September. Congratulations ladies, another successful year for the Ladies of Okehampton.
Carol Ditchburn 31.7.23
It is much sadness that the club announces the passing of Carol Ditchburn a club member and friend, who enjoyed playing and socializing at most events at the club. Carol brought fun to the game and will be missed especially by the lady members, she was a past joint ladies captain and organised some lovely Christmas lunches. We pass on our condolences to Carol’s family at this sad time. The family are having a memorial day on Saturday 2nd September from 11am until 2pm at the bowls club everyone is welcome to come and share their memories of Carol.
Mike Luxton 17.6.23
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Mike, a long standing member of many years who brought a great sense of humour to the bowls green and a long standing member of the green keeping team to help maintain the lovely green that we all enjoy. He will be greatly missed and we pass on our condolences to Megan and family at this sad time. Funeral Arrangements are Tuesday 18th July at 2.30pm at Exeter Crematorium.
County Honours for Okehampton Bowlers
It’s not often that Bowlers from Okehampton Simmons Bowls Club get to receive their County Badge , but 2 of the men have done just that .
Alan Matthias – Club Captain and Tony Hunt recently travelled to St Austell to receive their badges having accumulated enough points from County Competitions.
Alan started his bowls journey playing for a pub side in the Club Pub League that raises money for local charities . Then 14 years ago, he was persuaded to join the club and has won many trophies at the club since then . Tony only started bowling 7 years ago but has now gone onto be one of the clubs best bowlers .
Sunday 30th April
The Centenary Celebrations continue
Re-Enactment of the first game played a 100 Years ago on Okehampton Simmons Bowling Green between Tavistock, Barnstaple (Ashleigh Road) & Okehampton 2023
BRIEF EXPLANATION OF THE ORIGIN OF TODAY’S GAME
Okehampton was very fortunate to have a wealthy benefactor, Mr Sydney Simmons, who provided funds to buy and design Simmons Park and additional funds to build both the tennis courts and the bowling green on the understanding that the work be done by unemployed men of the town. Just over 100 years ago the first game of bowls was played. It was a day of great celebration with the band playing and children’s games taking place in the park. Today, we have very loosely replicated that game. Back then Barnstable Bowling Club played Okehampton beating them handsomely 51 shots to 18. I hasten to add Barnstable did have at least one international player. Tavistock Bowling Club then gave an exhibition match.
The annual subscription was 2 shillings and 6 pence – 12 ½ p in new money and the members were made up of men, white-collared workers, shopkeepers and councillors and rinks was the order of the day. Games were played in the evenings, Saturdays and Wednesdays this being half day closing. A motion was put to the council to play on Sundays, this was rejected, with even the President of the bowls club, a councillor, voting against it. Sundays were for religious observance and even the children’s swings in the park were tied up on Sundays.
There was a Pavilion in the park where the bandstand is now situated but the members under the guidance of Mr Lobb laboured for many months to build the present clubhouse which was opened in 1983.
Coming up to the present, the clubhouse, due to the generosity of Stan Cousins, is to be extended to improve the changing facilities.
Thank you for coming today to help us celebrate 100 years and long may bowls continue.