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Valentine Women’s Bowling Club celebrates 60 years

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Pearls, black lace, champagne and fairy lights welcomed the members of Valentine Women’s Bowling Club as they gathered to celebrate their 60th anniversary this week. 

While shiny treats and frangipani flowers were sprinkled on the surface of each of the flawlessly decorated tables, the sounds of laughter filled the function room above the bowling green, as more than 90 women aged 50 to 96 reminisced about times gone by. 

With the promise of prizes, a skit, and cake to come, talk rolled from the crisp white playing uniforms with strictly measured hemlines, to a trophy cupboard filled with bragging rights. 

But, their proudest achievement, they say, is being referred to as “the friendly club”. 

While bowling might be the activity that brings them together, it’s the friendship that makes them stay together, and for the club’s longest serving member Betty Simpson, this year’s celebrations had a sprinkle of extra icing. 

Betty has been to all of Valentine WBC’s biggest birthdays; its 21st, 25th, 30th, 40th, 50th and now 60th

She first joined to play bowls with like-minded lakeside ladies in 1980. 

When she cut the anniversary cake this week it was no doubt an honour. 

In December Betty will turn 93. 

Betty Simpson was honoured to cut the cake for the club’s 60th anniversary.

Raffles, bus trips, dinner parties, cake stalls and barbecues, this club’s fundraising activities have never fallen short, with “no lack of volunteers” involved over the years. 

Achieving success both on and off the bowling green, members claim (with tongue in cheek) they are made up of a member of the Royal family and a gold medalist, a partner winning the title of King and Queen of the Hunter and another winning several gold medals in the transplant games in 2013. 

Fundraising 

Perhaps its greatest achievement is fundraising efforts. 

Valentine WBC currently supports several local charities, the most recent being Calvary Mater Auxiliary Newcastle, HMRI, and Valentines Lions Club. 

As well as financial support, the ladies compiled and donated 50 dignity bags to Survivors R Us, supporting women in need with basic feminine products. 

The ladies also support scholarships to their neighbouring Valentine Public School. 

Valentine Women’s Bowling Club celebrates 60 years.

In the past it has fundraised for Hunter Surf Life Saving Association, Valentine Swimming Pool, The Heart Foundation, Cancer Research, Camp Qulaity, Food Relief Appeal and The Bush Fire Relief Appeal. 

“Our members are a happy, caring, friendly group, inviting others to join them,” says its promotional material. 

“If anyone is ill or in hospital, she will have lots of visitors, cards and telephone calls to cheer and show our concern; if anyone has to attend hospital for a series of treatments eg chemotherapy, several will form a roster to do transport duty. 

“If anyone is saddened by the loss of a loved one, quiet support will be there, a shoulder if needed, an ear to listen, the arrival of a friend with soup, a casserole or cake, just a little something to show we care.” 

Valentine Women’s Bowling Club over the years.

Motto 

This is a club that boasts many a catch cry, each raising a smile among its members. 

In a pamphlet produced for its 40th birthday, most felt it apt to adopt the motto: “Have bowls, will travel”, after competitors played in matches all over Port Stephens, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, and from Grafton to Illawarra. 

In earlier paperwork the Valentine WBC lady bowlers claimed the call that could still be heard swishing about the club was: “Ladies, bring a plate”.

History 

This club was born at a meeting on 29 January 1964 at Valentine Community Hall. 

Both officers and committee members were elected from the 45 attendees, each paid their thirty shillings annual fee ($3), before playing their first game of bowls together on 29 March 1964. 

Since then, this lakeside group has had plenty to talk about. 

While they no longer insist on wearing white skirts “no shorter than 14 inches from the ground”, they continue to pride themselves on being “the friendly club”, and are determined to remain so for the next “at least 60 years”. 

On Monday, 18 March, Valentine Bowling Club will host an onsite celebration including flag raising and doing what they do best “sharing a cup of tea with friends”.

Valentine Women’s Bowling Club over the years.

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