AN historic Greenock bowling club has been saved from closure.

Members of Lady Alice BC feared the 104-year-old club would fold as they fought to secure a 25-year lease which will allow them to carry out desperately needed work on the building.

The club's committee can now breathe a sigh of relief after they obtained a long term lease through the sheriff court.

Club secretary Joe Carruthers said the ruling, which came on his 70th birthday, was the best present he'd ever received.

He told the Tele: "It's absolutely wonderful.

"It means the club is safe.

"It's the best birthday present I've ever had."

The 25-year lease will allow the club to apply for funding for their planned and much-needed clubhouse renovation.

Joe added: "If we didn't get this lease, the club would've been at risk of closure.

"We can't carry on the way it has been as the building is falling down.

"We can now apply for funding from the National Lottery.

"Without the lease agreement we couldn't do that."

The club plans to demolish and rebuild half of the building which is in a state of disrepair and requires works immediately as it has been condemned.

Officials also want to improve the toilet facilities at the clubhouse and install a fully accessible disabled toilet and a permanent disabled access ramp.

Joe says the work is expected to cost about £300,000, with the club having to secure between £80,000 and £100,000 in funding towards the project.

Independent councillor Tommy McVey, who had given his support to the club, said: "This is a landmark day in the history of Lady Alice Bowling Club.

"My warmest congratulations go to Joe and his hard working committee for getting things to this stage.

"There is still work to do but getting the 25-year lease means that a major obstacle has been overcome.

"I would just like to place on record my thanks to council officers, who have worked alongside Joe and the his team.

"They too have played a key part in the process."