History of the Club
Hartest and District Bowls Club was commenced in July 1988 by Mr John Dixie who lived in the village, at Bridge House. The equipment was provided by a gift from Hartest Community Council, with one of the two mats donated by Mr Dixie.
The Club began with 23 members who paid an annual membership subscription of £2.
This was changed at a later date in favour of a weekly payment. Also to support the group the Boxted and Hartest Institute Committee subsidised the hiring charge.
At the beginning, to learn the art and rules of the game, Whepstead Club members visited for a demonstration of how Carpet Bowls should be played. The Club became very active and played friendly matches with Horringer, Hawstead, Lawshall, Cornard, Glemsford, Alpheton, Long Melford, Brockley and Rattlesdon. Games were held both home and away and competition was keen. As a reward within the club the Dixie shield was awarded to individuals.
League matches were played by Hartest in the County Council Leisure centres in Bury St.Edmunds and Sudbury as well as on two occasions in the Suffolk County Bowls competition at Hemsby. On a further two occasions they participated in Sunday Competitions where some 16 clubs competed for a shield.
Annual dinners were always held to celebrate the year’s successes.
In 1990 the Club members were involved with the Village Millennium Celebration by holding an Elizabethan bowls match. For that event, two members, Don and Esme Noad made a very large celebration cake measuring 8 feet by 2 feet! It was suitably decorated with bowling and other appropriate Village emblems.
As with all Carpet Bowls Clubs, there is now, unfortunately a lack of interest in the game and friendly matches are a thing of the past even though the League continues with some groups participating. Currently the Hartest Club has 11 permanent members, but four of these live outside the Village.
Weekly meetings held on Wednesdays from 7.30.to 9.30pm, in the Boxted and Hartest Institute and it is hoped that this very interesting and fun game will continue for years to come, attracting more members to keep the Group viable.
The Carpet Bowls Club has proved to be a very social activity and firm friendships have been formed over the years among the members which remain to this day.