Francophile fans of the sport of petanque can indulge their passion in an al-fresco seaside location after a court in Bexhill was refurbished.
Rother District Council revamped the facility by the Sovereign Light Cafe, in West Parade, in response to a request from Bexhill-based boules enthusiast Carol Parkes, from Little Common.
The council’s contractor, idverde, refurbished and extended the crushed gravel court and installed a new wooden surround, while a new sign is in place to make it more visible.
The court, known in petanque parlance as a ‘terrain’, is free to use, no booking is required and people can hire a boules set from the Sovereign Light Cafe for no charge other than a £10 refundable deposit.
Cllr Jay Brewerton, cabinet member for young people, sport and leisure, said: “The court has been in place for some time but many people were not aware of it and it was in need of some TLC.
“We’re grateful to Carol for raising this with us and glad we’ve been able to do the work, which has spruced up the court and made it a lot more visible. It’s a great asset to the seafront and contributes to our aim of encouraging more people to get active and play sports.”
The 1066 Petanque League is thriving, boasting around 90 players across Hastings and Rother ranging from eight-year-olds to retired people, but only a handful of those are from Bexhill.
Committee member and qualified coach Rob Newell hopes the revamped facility will change that, and is offering free coaching sessions at the court on Fridays throughout October.
He said: “The refurbishment of the terrain is excellent news and hopefully will encourage more people in Bexhill to take up petanque. It’s a very easy game to play and learn, the rules are simple and it’s a very sociable and healthy activity you play outdoors in the fresh air.”
Mrs Parkes said: “They’ve done a really good job and the court is a lot more visible now – when my husband and I have been playing there lots of people came up and asked us about it.
“It’s in a wonderful location right by the cafe and overlooking the sea and my vision is that it will be a place where people come together for a social gathering, like at the courts you see in France.”
Anyone interested in free coaching sessions can just turn up on Fridays throughout October from 4 to 6pm or call Rob Newell on 01424 830368 or email email@example.com for more information.