Club closure threat

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One of the area’s oldest sport and social hubs is facing its most difficult decision in more than 150 years.

Bo’ness Bowling Club has a proud history dating back to 1863, when Queen Victoria was in her prime, but like many struggling clubs across Scotland is finding it impossible to maintain a viable membership.

Now the club is being forced to “explore all options” in a bid to keep the club open.

Secretary Bob Keltie confirmed the club will have to make a pivotal decision on its future at the annual general meeting in February.

Although he stressed any decision about the club’s future would be entirely for the members – now understood to number 39 – to decide. He said: “We won’t have a ladies’ section next year, and that is certain, because we don’t have the numbers now – and at the same time we have considerable costs to meet for maintaining the facilities.”

But while closure might seem inevitable the club has a busy programme of social functions booked into November, and although the sports side of things is in sharp decline it’s by no means certain the venue will have to close altogether.

There is no prospect of sudden closure this side of the new year, and by February several options will have been discussed in detail.

Mr Keltie added that as a popular licensed sports venue with a proud history as one of the town’s best-known social spots, any plan which could see the club survive, possibly in a new form, will be studied seriously.