Author to mark 60 years of Walton ten pin bowling in new book

AN iconic pier and its famous bowling alley is set to be the subject of a new book.

Walton Pier owner Russell Bolesworth applied to Tendring Council for permission to upgrade the much-loved landmark.

The blueprints show the nine existing ten-pin bowling lanes could be replaced with adventure golf and a new six-lane bowling area would be built instead.

Steven Walker, 67, of Sunny Point in Walton grew up playing ten-pin bowling at the pier in his youth and is to preserve those sacred memories in a new book.

He said: “I haven’t decided on a name yet as it’s in early stages, but the book will also commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Walton Pier Bowl next year.

“The bowl was established in 1963 as one of the first ten-pin bowls in the country, a lot of people in Tendring would have gone in its heyday back in the 1960s.”

Steven is collecting material from leading players, old photographs and other memorabilia for his book.

The Walton Pier bowling alley is one of the smallest in the country with nine lanes. Other bigger alleys have between 20 and 30 lanes.

Walton’s offering was the brainchild of the Goss family and the first manager Steve Hale came over from America in the 1960s to establish bowling in the UK.

The venue was home to professional competitions.

Classic – The Walton Pier Bowl in its heyday

Steven added: “International competitions were done by telephone in those days, it was even before the Eurovision phone contest.

“People would play games and record their scores over the phone. My mum was on the switchboard and I remember her always being excited about her job.

“Teams from the American air bases in Suffolk would come over to play in the regular weekly league competitions.

“That added a bit of excitement as they came with their experience and paraphernalia, to me it was like they were from another planet with their knowledge.”

Steven soaked up all that knowledge when he began playing seriously in his youth.

He played on Saturday mornings for the junior clubs under 16 and under 18 teams with his friends.

Steven said: “In Walton there’s not a lot for young people to do, the pier was a big thing before people started going to Spain on cheap holidays.

“If you weren’t good at football, it was close to home and something unique to do. The place was packed almost every night with league bowlers coming from Clacton, Colchester and Suffolk.

“I won some competitions as a junior, I was an East of England regional champion at one point and competed nationally.”

However, Steven would not consider himself the biggest name to come out of Walton bowling, that would be Dominic Barrett.

Mr Barrett, 36, who lives in Great Bentley, honed his bowling skills at the Walton Pier.

He competes at world events and on the Professional Bowlers Association tour, on which he has won nine titles.

Steven said: “If ten-pin bowling was an Olympic sport, then Dom would be a gold medal winner many times over.”

Steven will feature Dominic in his book as well as other ten pin legends like Keith Hale who has written a 300 word piece for the novel.

The book will be sold as a charity fundraiser for Walton Foodbank. For more of Steven’s work visit amzn.to/3tsB5J7.

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