DEVIZES Bowls Club began their centenary celebrations last Saturday at Long Street clubhouse.

Claire Perry, MP for the town, was the guest of honour for the official opening of the green for 2017.

Following the lunch Bowls England Financial Director Howard Pryse (Swindon Bowls Club) gave an insight into the clubs history over the past 100 years together with some interesting facts and amusing stories stories about some of the current and past members.

Howard then gave an emotional eulogy to Sue Ochyra, the former ladies club secretary, who had been fully committed to the centenary celebrations but had died suddenly last autumn after a short illness.

At the time Sue Ochyra was also the Bowls Wiltshire administrator.

Pryse then invited Claire Perry MP to present the “Sue Ochyra Memorial Trophy” to Sue’s children Helen & Simon.

The trophy is a silver salver which Bowls Wiltshire Ladies will present annually to a lady who has given outstanding service to ladies bowls in Wiltshire - Sue Ochyra is the first recipient of the award for 2016. It was felt by the club that having this annual award Sue Ochyra’s legacy would live on.

Claire Perry then spoke about some of the Devizes’ clubs qualities and their involvement in the local community. She congratulated them on reaching this milestone in its history and wished the club good luck as it enters its second century.

She spoke of the club being a thriving establishment with its 140 members and that it catered for all ages.

The MP also commented on the link that the Devizes Bowls Club have had with the local school since 2010 that Sue Ochyra had worked hard to ensure was a success.

The speeches completed Claire Perry invited everyone to go outside so that she could bowl the first wood to officially open the green for the new 2017 bowling season.

However, just prior to that she unfurled the new Centenary flag which then flew proudly along with the Wiltshire flag and old Devizes club flag.

Guests and members then took over both greens for their first roll up of the season.

The club will continue their celebrations on Sunday, with their first special match of the season to mark their 100th birthday.

They host Southampton (Old) Bowling Green, whose home green staged the world’s first game of bowls back in 1299, on Sunday (2.30pm).

The game against Southampton OBG will be an eight rink affair.