Campaigners near their goal

CAMPAIGNERS fighting for a much-needed £400,000 all-weather pitch for Felixstowe's sports players said today they are just £35,000 short of their goal.

CAMPAIGNERS fighting for a much-needed £400,000 all-weather pitch for Felixstowe's sports players said today they are just £35,000 short of their goal.

The group is now asking organisations and businesses in the area if they would be willing to pledge around £5,000 each to help complete the fundraising.

The project has been given an indication by the Football Foundation, supported by the Football Association, that it would be prepared to stump up the majority of the money needed for the floodlit pitch.

The foundation has already given substantial support to sports schemes in the area and has £53 million a year to give away to grass roots ventures.

It gave £146,000 to Kirton Kestrels for their pavilion on the village recreation ground, and £210,000 to the project in memory of murdered Trimley teenager Vicky Hall - £160,000 for a pavilion and £50,000 for a football academy. Suffolk Coastal council is understood to be willing to give £30,000 towards the all-weather surface from money ring-fenced for play and sports facilities contributed by developers building homes in the area.

The surface will be constructed at Orwell High School, Maidstone Road, on a site granted planning permission previously for a similar project but which then failed to take off.

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It will be used jointly by hockey and football players, and also by the schools and the community during evenings, weekends and school holidays.

Footballers would use it as a training facility, while it would be the town's hockey club's primary surface for training and matches.

In a letter to the town council, the project organisers, a task group of councillors, community leaders and officials from Felixstowe and District Council for Sport and Recreation, said £35,000 still had to be raised.

If organisations were not able to donate immediately, pledging sums would allow the group to take out a loan to complete the fundraising.

The task group is currently having designs drawn up for the scheme for planing approval and preparing its official application to the Football Foundation.

Eight years ago permission was granted for a floodlit £300,000-plus 100 metres by 61m pitch at Orwell High.

A fundraising drive was launched and some money was raised but the ambitious venture never came to fruition

Various options have been looked at, such as rubber-filled synthetic turf, sand-dressed and sand-filled surfaces, and a water-based pitch which has to have water applied before and during games. As well as the synthetic playing surface, the scheme would also need car parking, changing rooms and floodlighting.

n What do you think? Write to Your Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail


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