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Strike! Tenpin bowling chalks up its UK 50th anniversary
Tenpin bowling
Bowling is superseded in popularity by only one other sport, football

The 50th anniversary of tenpin bowling's arrival in the UK has been celebrated.

Sir Henry Cooper marked the occasion by rolling a "golden ball" at a bowling alley in Acton, west London.

The former heavyweight boxing champion was one of the celebrities to introduce the pastime to the UK.

Bowling first made its mark in north London's Stamford Hill, on the site of an old cinema in January 1960.

Sir Henry was on hand 50 years ago to declare the country's only bowling alley, 'Tenpin Lanes', open for business.

He was joined in Stamford Hill on that occasion by Mount Everest explorer Sir Edmund Hillary and other celebrities and film stars of the day.

"Fun pastime for all"

Bowling has gone from strength to strength in the intervening years, gaining popularity with children and adults alike.

Sir Henry Cooper marks the 50th anniversary of tenpin bowling in the UK
Sir Henry Cooper was among those who bowled the first ball in 1960

At one stage there were more than 200 bowling alleys open in the UK.

"It has continued to remain at the heart of the family, as a fun pastime for all," said John Ashbridge, chair of the Tenpin Bowling Proprietors Association.

Sir Henry arrived at the Royale Leisure Park in Acton to help commemorate the golden anniversary in January 2010.

He and others rolled a special birthday ball, recreating to the day the event that officially launched bowling in the UK.

Current estimates suggest the pastime is superseded in popularity by only one other sport, football.

"Everyone in the industry is incredibly excited to see what the next 50 years will bring," said Mr Ashbridge.

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