Were you bowled over by April Fools’ prank?

The poster which tricked a number of club members at the Sidmouth Tennis and Bowling Club.

The poster which tricked a number of club members at the Sidmouth Tennis and Bowling Club. - Credit: Archant

A mystery prankster tricked a number of members at Sidmouth Bowling Club into believing their beloved clubhouse was going to be redeveloped into housing.

An ‘official looking’ notice caused a stir when it was put up at the Coburg Terrace venue - leaving some outraged and others laughing on April Fools’ Day.

The notice said a developer, ‘One four All LTD’, was going to build 104 ‘starter’ homes on top of the club’s courts, bowling green and clubhouse.

Susie Bonnell, who was the 2016 ladies’ outdoor captain, said that, if it had been true, everyone would have been up in arms.

“Bowlers would have been tying themselves to the railings – we are a feisty lot,” she added.


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“I doubt it would have been funny at the time, but once they found out it was a joke they would have laughed.”

Des Bridgeman, who has been a member at the club for more than 20 years, said he walked past the ‘official and realistic’ notice and was not sure what to think.

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He added there was even a map highlighting the areas where the ‘development’ was going to be built.

“The first thing I thought was that it was silly for the council to do it,” said Des.

“It was so authentic, I went back and had a look again.

“I don’t really know what I think about it - whether it was funny or not, although it was clever – especially if it was one of the bowlers.”

Planning authority East Devon District Council said the poster was, of course, a hoax and it had nothing to do with the matter.

A spokeswoman said: “We have no idea who placed it there. We are aware, though, that it did cause some concern with residents who didn’t view it as a joke.”

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