STORT Valley Indoor Bowling Club has issued an urgent plea for readers to use people-power to help secure a new venue for Bishop's Stortford.

The group is applying to become a six-rink indoor club and would like as many prospective members as possible to support its application to East Herts District Council, by filling in the form below.

The more people who sign their names, the better the chance the group will have with a lottery funding application.

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Its urgent request for a new venue in the town comes as Bishop's Stortford Indoor Bowls Club is closed down on Friday.

Stort Valley Indoor Bowling Club hopes its long-fought bid will now be given greater credibility by the council.

The closure also means that the nearest venues for bowling enthusiasts are in Harlow or Saffron Walden.

Joan Abbott, of the Stort Valley steering group, said the town had lost a major sporting facility which was enjoyed by people aged 16 to over 80.

Mrs Abbott, who is president of the Hertfordshire Ladies Indoor Bowling Association, said the committee has been trying since 1991 to get another site as they were unhappy with the Bishop's Stortford club's facilities.

She said: "Hopefully we've found a piece of land but in order to get certification as a club we have to register as many members as possible."

They will apply for affiliation to the Hertfordshire Indoor Bowling Association and the English Bowling Association in the non-profit making venture.

Supporting its aim is Tony Knight, honorary secretary of Bishop's Stortford Indoor Bowls Club, who met members of the Stort Valley group last Wednesday to discuss the application.

Mr Knight said: "The idea of the two groups meeting was to get together and pool our efforts in one direction. We both want the same thing -- a bowls club in the Bishop's Stortford area."

Tomorrow night (Thursday) the owner of Bishop's Stortford Indoor Bowls Club, Bevan Clarke, was due to stage a presentation of trophies to members before chairing an extraordinary general meeting, on the eve of the club's closure.

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