A Brief History of the Ladies' Section
Founded 1938
© Copyright 2007-2024
    Lenham Bowling Club
Lenham Bowling Club
Most of the information for early part of this page has been extracted from the booklet compiled in 1998 by Graham Bennett to commemorate the Club's Diamond Jubilee and the Ladies' Section's Golden Jubilee.

The first mention of Ladies in the Club records goes right back to the first ever committee meeting on Wednesday 13th April 1938 when it was agreed that ladies could play on the green.  Five days later, in recognition of her assistance in the formation of the Club, Mrs Katherine Mitchell officially opened the green and bowled the first bowl.  Shortly thereafter (although the date is not recorded) the Ladies played their first match against Ashford Town Ladies.

The following year, World War II intervened and comparatively little bowls was played until after hostilities ceased.  In April 1946, a Special General Meeting voted in favour of ladies being admitted as full Club Members and they were invited to form a Ladies' Section.  At the Club's AGM in February 1947, however, it was decided that the term 'Ladies Section' should no longer be used as the Ladies were already full members of the Club.

Four months later, it was agreed that the Ladies should become affiliated to the Kent County Women's Bowling Association (KCWBA) and that the expense of this should be borne by the Club.

At the Club's AGM in February 1948 it was recorded that the KCBA would not acknowledge ladies as members and that the KCWBA insisted that in order to be affiliated, the Club's ladies must have their own section with their own officers and accounting system.  Consequently, in order to satisfy both County bodies, the Ladies' membership of the "Men's" club was reluctantly rescinded.

So a separate Ladies' Section was formed at their first General Meeting on 3rd March 1948 and they constituted themselves in accordance with the requirements of the KCWBA (to which, by this time, they had become affiliated).

Things then settled down (for about 50 years!) until the Extraordinary General Meeting of the Club on 19th January 2001.  A new set of Club Rules was agreed in order to comply with a request from Sport England who had awarded the Club a substantial grant to redevelop the clubhouse.  The new rules gave the Ladies' membership an equal voice on all matters regarding the Club, including the right to vote on all resolutions and to be elected as Club Officers.  The first ladies to hold office were Barbara Jones (Club Trustee, 2001), followed by Linda Southby (Club Secretary, 2002).  Two Ladies' representatives were also recruited to the Club's Management Committee.

This was around the time when Bowls England was just starting to consider 'unification', but Kent was still a few years behind.  Consequently, although the Club had unified its membership, the Ladies' Section (with officers) had to be retained in order to continue to be affiliated to the KCWBA.  It also led to Linda having to be accompanied by a man to KCBA meetings as, although she was Club Secretary, she was not permitted to cast a vote!

At the 2014 Club AGM, a request was made that, as Bowls England and Kent were now 'fully unified', we should follow suit.  The Management Committee, after consultation with members, brought forward a new structure for the Club which was essentially a unification, but preserved elements of the Ladies' Section and introduced a similar, but limited, Men's Section.  This was adopted by the membership.

At the 2022 Club AGM, members took the decision to fully unify the Club and abolish both the Men's and Ladies' Sections (with effect from December 2023).
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Past Officers of the Ladies' Section