BOWLERS who feared the death knell would toll for their beloved club are celebrating after raising thousands of pounds to ensure its survival.

In December Spennymoor Indoor Bowling Club launched an urgent appeal to raise £30,000.

The priority was to repay a £24,000 brewery loan, and unless it could do so members worried the club would not reach its 50th anniversary in March.

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But at a meeting last week, club secretary and treasurer Alan Clark gave them the news they had been hoping for.

The appeal had secured £23,000 to pay off the outstanding loan, which had been reduced since December by regular monthly repayments, thanks to 13 members who each put upwards of £500 into a shares scheme.

One member boosted the coffers by £7,000 and it is hoped that investors can eventually be repaid their loan with interest.

The club has also held fundraising nights and had support from other clubs.

Mr Clark said: “It is fantastic news.

“It is an historic club and such a good facility, nobody wants to see it lost from the town and it means an awful lot to members.

“Like many, I’ve played here a lot of years and my dad played here before, people love the bowling and it is a very social place which is why so many people invested so much.

“It is such a relief to be in a position to pay off the loan, it means we can plan and raise funds for the longer term future instead of just fighting for survival.”

Supporters can still buy into the shares scheme and the club plans a series of fundraising initiatives to update its base, above the Ken Warne store on Whitworth Terrace.

Officials hope to insulate the building and replace broken windows, which will reduce running costs such as heating.

A fundraising night with table top magician Jason ‘Majayician’ Orpen (both correct), karaoke, bingo and raffle will be held on Saturday, March 1, 7.30pm. Admission £2.

Stewardess Rose King also hopes to boost bar takings and wants feedback on plans to host a regular open mic folk and country night.

To support the club or for details contact Rose King on 07716-473939.