A BOWLING Club has defended itself after allegations that it turned down a funeral reception because of complaints about the presence of women on men only days.

The family of a former Ilkley Bowling Club member had hoped to hold his wake there. But they say they were astonished to be told that functions were no longer allowed because of the complaints.

Officials at the club insist functions have not been allowed for more than three years, and they say limited catering facilities and a busy club make it impractical to hold them.

But the allegation was made after the death of longstanding club member Rodney Dewhurst.

His son Simon Dewhurst said:"My dad recently died and as a member of the Ilkley Bowling Club we thought it would be a good send off for the funeral reception to be held there.

"We went to see if this could be arranged and saw a nice obituary notice by the entrance letting members know about my dad's passing. However when we asked about booking the funeral wake we were told that this would not be possible as women were not allowed on men only days."

Mr Dewhurst said his father had been a member of the club for many years and and other family functions had been held there.

He said: "My Mum went to speak to the lady behind the bar and explained who she was and asked whether it would be possible to hold the funeral reception there.

"She was told that they were sorry but the committee had decided that due to the number of complaints received by members about women being in the building on men only days that no more functions would be held there."

He stressed:"We were astonished to hear that from them and all the people we have spoken to since are disgusted by the committee's decision."

The club's Honorary Treasurer Richard Hill said: "Our club policy is that we do not hold receptions at Ilkley Bowling Club on any day of the week, irrespective of whether they are requested by ladies or men.

"This has been the policy for over three years, during which time we have declined to accept several booking requests.

"Also, since our successful refurbishment last year, our catering facilities are limited, and the club is much busier making the holding of such events somewhat impractical.

"I am sorry for any misunderstanding and disappointment."