The Nidderdale Voices column with Deborah Course

Deborah Course, secretary of Pateley Bridge Bowling Club.
Deborah Course, secretary of Pateley Bridge Bowling Club.

We can now look forward to the long, hot days of summer when activities in Nidderdale tend to be carried out in the great outdoors. Pateley Recreation Ground has been empty during the winter months but now children are playing on the swings and adults are strolling alongside the river to the caravan park.

Suddenly the bowling green comes to life and this is a good time to meet up with Deborah Course who is the secretary of Pateley Bridge Bowling Club and to ask her to tell us about this honourable institution.

My father Tom Parker on the bowling green.

My father Tom Parker on the bowling green.

Deborah was born in Harrogate, but moved down south because of work when she was employed by the CEGB.

This did not mean that she lost touch with our area as her father lived in Pateley and so family holidays were spent in Nidderdale. It therefore seemed completely natural when retirement loomed to come back home and settle in Pateley.

Deborah’s father had always enjoyed bowling but she had always found it very boring. Deborah loved to spend her free time hiking over the hills and did not want to confine herself to walking over a square patch of grass.

However, after settling in Pateley she did agree to accompany her father onto his bowling green and from that moment she was hooked. She found that she enjoyed it just as much as he did.

The rest is history.

Deborah became a very enthusiastic member of Pateley Bowling Club and eventually found herself secretary.

The bowling season is from April to the end of September. Pateley is part of the Harrogate League which arranges matches.

It is a very old club dating back to 1923.

In the early days there were 58 members.

There were a few years after this when it closed but reopened again in 1983 and today it is ticking along nicely with a subscription fee of £40 per year and a charge of £1.50 per member playing in a match.

Pateley is extremely fortunate in having Dennis Fryer as its very own green keeper who completely free of charge maintains the bowling green keeping it mowed, spiked and lovingly cared for.

New member are enthusiastically welcomed and every Thursday throughout the season free trials are held for anyone who might like to consider taking up the sport.

My other interest is volunteering for Nidderdale Plus and helping in the Tourist Advice Centre with an occasional stint in the library.

Describe a typical day

We have to maintain our facilities – the land and the clubhouse. These are rented from the Council and we are hoping that they will continue to charge us just a nominal rent because we do feel that we provide an amenity for the area.

What would be your perfect day out?

Even though I might walk a couple of miles in a day on the Bowling Green I still love exploring the countryside.

Although we have been on cruises I now prefer holidays in Britain.

I love a walking holiday in Scotland.

What is your favourite part of the Dale? – We have lovely countryside around but I just love the town of Pateley.

Its friendly little streets are my home and I am so pleased that we came back here to live.

What is your favourite Nidderdale business?

I like all the shops in Pateley but I have to especially mention Kendalls Butchers. I am completely addicted to their pork pies.

What is the biggest change you have seen in Nidderdale?

The Pateley that I remember from my childhood was made up of lots of very small shops.

Modern shops are much bigger but there seem to be fewer of them.

What makes Nidderdale special?

The people are so proud of their area and endeavour to preserve their heritage.

If there is one thing that you would like to change what would it be?

I can’t answer that one. My life is so busy and full and I am so pleased that we made the decision to come back to the area and to live in Nidderdale.