Bowled over in Helmsley

by Handy Mag

Could lawn bowls be THE craze of 2024?

Helmsley Bowling Club certainly think so. This year, for the first time ever, the club is offering one year’s FREE membership – providing amazing access to one of North Yorkshire’s finest greens AND an introduction to a sport poised for a long-overdue renaissance.

“We’ve seen a strong revival in the south,” says club chair Bill Jones. “Now we need to let people in and around Helmsley know what a priceless asset they have on their doorstep.”

The only thing new recruits will need to provide is a pair of flat shoes (‘and a sense of humour’, adds Bill). Because in 2024, everything else will come absolutely free.

“I only discovered it two years ago,” says Lucy Johnson, a 50-year-old who moved to the town from Canada with her husband, Tony. “Now I’m completely hooked and In Helmsley we play in such incredible surroundings. And bowls as a game is so much more intriguing and strategic than I ever imagined it to be. Simply brilliant”

But free membership isn’t the only thing Bill has got planned for 2024. Eight local organisations are being invited to take part in a new annual one-day summer Sunday competition, with a custom-made trophy – The H Trophy – to be awarded to the winner.

“We’re calling the event Strictly Come Bowling and it’s all about raising awareness and showing new people the fun side of the game,” says Bill. “So many people in the town still don’t know we have this fantastic facility but EVERYONE who joins us is always staggered how addictive this sport actually is.”

And even if you visit Helmsley without the time (or inclination) to embrace a new hobby, the town’s bowlers have got something for you. To help raise funds, a Town Treasure Hunt has been devised, linking secret hidden-away places in a one hour walk, which is perfect for locals, holiday visitors AND children – and has a £50 prize on offer too. Trail maps available for just £2 at Elijah Todd newsagent and Market Place Café.

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in the free membership, please do contact Bill now (details below) and the green is usually open from mid-April to late September. “If it’s good company and gentle outdoor competition you’re after we can offer that,” concludes Bill. “And if you take to it like I did, there are various local leagues taking you out to neighbouring villages for good-spirited weekly games almost always followed by a glass of wine or a pint!”

Bill Jones can be reached on 07767 654218 or

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