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New snooker table for Sittingbourne club thanks to Calor Gas funded restoration project

Refurbished snooker table before and after
Providing LPG to off-grid homes and businesses across the UK for over 85 years, Calor has a long-running commitment to help the rural communities we operate in. As well as running initiatives like the annual Calor Rural Community Fund, we actively encourage our staff to engage with projects in their local community through our Start from the Heart Scheme where colleagues are given one day a year to be used for volunteering in their local community. 
Recently, Sittingbourne based Calor colleague Jon Ansley did just that when he embarked on a year-long Calor funded project to restore a 100-year-old snooker table. The restored table, which took over 400 hours to renovate, has since been donated to a local Sittingbourne snooker club to encourage young people to take up the sport.

As an avid snooker fan, Jon had played on the table at his local sports and social club for many years. The decision was made by the club to sell this and another of its tables in order to replace them with pool tables. After struggling to find a buyer for the first table, it was unfortunately used to build a bonfire and not wanting the same fate for the second, Jon stepped in. 

“The club kindly offered the table to me to see if I could bring it back to life.” Jon said. “The table was in desperate need of some TLC with lots of missing parts and general areas of disrepair after many years of use.” The task of bringing the table back to its former glory wasn’t quite as simple as expected however, as Jon continues, “Although I have turned my hand to many DIY projects over the years, I had absolutely no idea of the scale of what I had taken on. On many occasions I was wondering what I’d got myself in to, but I took everything step-by-step!”

Enlisting the expertise of a local sports expert, Peter Ludgate, Jon was able to source some of the replacement parts he needed to start the restoration. As Jon explains, “As the owner of the Hubble Sports snooker and Pool company that originally crafted the table in the late 1800s, Peter gave me some really good advice. Between that and a few vague YouTube tutorials, it was very much trial and error. The whole restoration from start to finish took me about a year - I made a few mistakes along the way but it certainly kept me busy through the recent lockdowns!” 

Having given the table a new lease of life, Jon set about finding a local venue that may be able to house it, reaching out to a number of snooker clubs in the area. “Mike Farrow who runs The Appleyard in Sittingbourne responded and after he came to see the table we knew the club was the perfect fit.” Jon said. He adds, “Mike has renovated the existing snooker room, re-decorating the space and installing new carpets so the table has been the perfect finishing touch. The Appleyard is a fantastic family orientated venue and having this new snooker room for members old and new is a massive bonus for the local community.”
 
Calor Employees who refurbished the Snooker table standing by the table
Jon now hopes to work with The Appleyard to offer free snooker lessons for local young people, using the new table to inspire the next generation of snooker players. Jon adds, “I’ve seen snooker having a revival in the last few years, not only amongst adults but for the younger generation too. I think it’s really important to encourage youngsters to get involved in all kinds of sports, and snooker is not only skilful but its sociable too, so it’s a great option for young people.”