Arson-hit Sunderland bowls club rises from the ashes

Barley Mow Bowls Club chairman George Gibson (right) and fellow bowlers outside their restored club house after it was damaged by fire 18 months ago.
Barley Mow Bowls Club chairman George Gibson (right) and fellow bowlers outside their restored club house after it was damaged by fire 18 months ago.
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A BOWLING club has risen from the ashes after it was torched to the ground.

Barley Mow Bowling Club players are looking forward to getting back on their own turf after being banished from the burnt-down clubhouse destroyed by arsonists in July 2011.

The mindless arsonists forced their way into the Hendon building and started a fire in the roof.

Chairman George Gibson said: “We’re looking forward to getting back in there.”

The roof of the building was ripped off in the blaze, which was tackled by firefighters during a two-and-a-half effort to save the structure,.

Now the base has been replaced by housing company Gentoo.

The firm undertook all of the building work and now the club is gearing up to return home in time for the beginning of the new bowling season in spring next year.

They have been using the facilities at Mowbray Park bowling club while the reconstruction work has been taking place.

Mr Gibson, who has been a member of the club for about 20 years and chairman for eight, said Steve Lidl, who works for the parks department, has been a huge help to the club.

“Steve has run around after us, keeping us up-to-date with the building work, getting keys for us to get into the clubhouse, and now helping us to get into the building to sort through our things,” he said.

Mr Gibson, 76, from Grangetown, said he is now in the process of sorting through the remains of the equipment that was salvaged from the ruins of the clubhouse by Gentoo.

He added “We need to sort out more tables and chairs, and bowling equipment.

“I’ve managed to salvage some tables and chairs from the stuff that was taken into storage, now all we need are some more members.”

Twitter: @Monica_Turnbull