On Saturday 4th December 2016, it was suppose to be the Clubs Christmas Party in the Club house. 60 members had paid for their meal, which had been prepared by the ladies of the Club the night before. The food was brought to the Club on the afternoon of Saturday 4th December. It had been raining in Keswick incessantly since Friday 3rd December, and it was still relentless on the Saturday.
The River Greta that runs through Fitz Park was rising all the time. At 2pm that Saturday, members witnessed the river burst its banks and the water encroach onto the tennis courts next to our bowling green, and eventually onto our green and then approach the Club house, the water went round the back and began seeping into the building through the wooden walls. Members decided to abandon the Club and take the food and whatever else they could salvage.
The river continued to rise through Saturday eventually spilling over the flood defence walls on Penrith Road and into houses along Penrith Road and surrounding streets. It was not until Monday morning before we could access the Club, the green was still flooded. Inside the Club it was discovered that over five feet of water had swept through the building, everything inside was destroyed, as will be seen from the photographs. One of our fire extinguishers landed up inside one of our toilet basins. All our records of our history, minutes, photographs were all lost. On Tuesday morning 20 members and friends using snow shovels spent the whole day clearing the green of silt, mud and debris from the green, this undoubtedly saved the green. Out Committee are grateful for all those who attended.
Our bowling green and Club house is owned by the Keswick Town Council Trustees. We are responsible for the upkeep of the green and maintaining the Club house in good condition and we have to insure the contents of the building. The Council Trustees insure the building and its fittings. Both the Council and our own Insurance Company 'Jack High' from Glasgow were quick to send our assessors. At the time of writing the Club house is only weeks away from being reinstated to its former glory and we as a committee are busy replacing all the contents. We submitted a contents claim to our Insurers for just over £25,000.
Our Insurers have honoured our claim up to around 85%, but we also have a £5,000 excess to pay, because this is our third claim within the last ten years that we have made, we were also flooded in 2005 and 2007, but this recent flood was by far the worst. We also discovered that the green was not covered by any ones insurance. Fortunately with grants received from Sport England, Cumbria Foundation Trust, Allerdale District Council, Keswick Lions and Rotary Clubs, Cumbria County Council, via Councillor Andrew Lyser and the English Bowling Association Trust, we will manage to recover all what we lost, including the repairs to the green. Our grateful thanks go out to these organisations.
Our thanks also go to Greta Garden Services, Mike Robertson and Peter Rainey, for all the work they have done on the green, which will now be up and ready to play in time for our opening league games week commencing 25th April. To Prater Construction team from Motherwell, led by their director Steven Prater and the two main workers Tom and Donny. Tom Mattinson local decorator for the painting work. Lynda and Catherine in the Town Council Office for all the hard work they have done behind the scene. Alan Dalzell and Donald Holme who have been down every day of the week to make sure everything is in order. The County Bowling Executive Committee, Steve Walker and in particular Anthony Little.
The Club has also been working very closely with Keswick Tennis, Cricket and Football Clubs which has been very beneficial to all, and we hope that relationship continues. To all members of our Committee who have also worked tirelessly to get everything in place. There are many more people to thank and that will be done when we will hold a night to commemorate the opening of our new Club house.
Finally our thoughts also go out to the following members of our Club whose homes were also devastated by the floods, Pam and Ian Gardiner, Hazel and Syd Horsefield, Glenda and Donald Holme, Christine and Sean Mills, Christine and Tony Ormandy and John Rothwell.
By the way the food from the Christmas Party did not go to waste, it went to the Convention site to feed all those people who tragically had been displaced from their homes.