THE town waved a tearful goodbye to Jardines Tenpin Bowling Centre last week as its owners who have been in the town since the 1960s closed their doors for the final time.
The Friars Square venue’s closure has been said by many to signal the end of an era, taking with it the last remaining leisure facility in Aylesbury town centre, with the exception of the theatre and cinema.
The town’s mayor, Councillor Jenny Puddefoot, says she feels the departure of Jardines is a great loss to the town, and has called on authorities to look into creating a new facility.
She said: “Jardines was a great asset to the town, and we now must bring in another activity that will bring people in.
“Bowling was perfect – it’s a sport that can be accessed by anyone, of any age or ability.
“We need to look at the town, and bring something into the centre which can be got to easily, especially by the elderly and disabled, which was another great thing about Jardines.
“We also need to remember that whichever facility comes in that it’s a business, so it needs to be in a viable location.
“It’s great having so many shops in town, but we need something to bring people in from out of town and we need to provide more for children to do – perhaps like an ice rink.”
Jardines, had been run by Stan and Eileen Adams in Silver Street since 1969, and had a membership of more than 2,500 people. The alley first opened in 1967.
The venue played host to a wide variety of local groups, including people with learning disabilities from disabled group Headway right through to the elderly.
The club also hosted league competitions every night of the week, including junior leagues where dozens of youngsters would compete on a Saturday morning and the town’s first disabled bowling league.
Co-owner Mrs Adams, who has seen two sons and four grandchildren grow up at the venue, said she and her husband Stan are still determined to find a new home for Jardines.
She said: “It doesn’t seem to be appreciated what we’ve done for the town.
“The people making the decisions sadly didn’t come up to see what they were turning away from Aylesbury.
“We would like to move elsewhere, but as individuals we’re struggling to find the money.
“As a result of the decision to close us down, 42 years of bowling in Aylesbury have been thrown away overnight.
“We’ve devoted our lives to Jardines and now it’s gone – somehow we’re just going to have to find a way of dealing with that.”