It was a sad day for the Levin RSA Bowling Club on Sunday when members voted to wind up the club.

A special general meeting was called to discuss the future of the club, resulting in a 10-7 vote to end 75 years of RSA bowling.

Membership of the club has been falling, following the national trend of older members gradually disappearing and a lack of interest by potential younger players.

Maude Lett presents prizes to Joe Renkin, left, Dick Baylis and Des Ransom at the first end of season closing day at the Levin RSA Bowling Club.
Maude Lett presents prizes to Joe Renkin, left, Dick Baylis and Des Ransom at the first end of season closing day at the Levin RSA Bowling Club.

Bowling club president Oriel Martin chaired the meeting, attended by around 30 people, which resulted in the majority vote by 17 financial club members against the struggle to continue as a bowling club.

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Also present was president of the Levin RSA Community Club Wayne Kaye, his vice president Anthony Kennedy, two representatives of the Kapiti Coast Bowling Centre and other members of the bowling community.

Mr Kaye said the RSA was sad the bowling club would be closing, but understood the reasons for the decision.

Levin RSA president Wayne Kaye.
Levin RSA president Wayne Kaye.

The club has a rich history. It was formed in 1945 to foster the social side of the RSA and the first Diggers Day tournament was held at the Central and Levin Bowling clubs' greens in March of that year. The popular tournament had been held ever since.

Land for the bowling green was gifted to the RSA by the late Maude Lett (formerly Mrs Clark) in 1947 for returned servicemen to establish their own greens and clubrooms. It was named the Clark Memorial Green and an Avenue of Remembrance, dedicated to the memory of RSA members, leads to the green from the Salisbury St entrance.

The green and buildings were developed by the returned servicemen who initially formed the bowling club and then by the many hundreds of members up to the present day.

The club's survival has only been possible because of the hard work of many volunteers over the decades, Mr Kaye said.

"Mrs Lett donated the land and the RSA members did the rest."

Maud Lett, formerly Mrs W M Clark, and Walter Lett and the memorial gates to the Levin RSA Bowling Club, the Clark Memorial Green.
Maud Lett, formerly Mrs W M Clark, and Walter Lett and the memorial gates to the Levin RSA Bowling Club, the Clark Memorial Green.

Mr Kaye thanked the many supporters of the club who attended the meeting on Sunday. He also commended Mr Martin, secretary Ngaire Fluerty, treasurer Margaret Taplin and the long-serving green keeper Ray Lovejoy for their work in recent years.

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"There will be a lot of discussion on the future of bowling green property, but it is for the Levin RSA Community Club to decide 'where to from here'," Mr Kaye said.

"The RSA is aware of the significance of the Avenue of Remembrance for members of both clubs and it will play a part in the many conversations that will follow."

The RSA will establish a transitional group to manage the property and the bowling club's memorabilia.