Right Royle event
DELIGHTED villagers turned out in force to celebrate their new £210,000 sports and community facilities – and see them given the Royle seal of approval.
DELIGHTED villagers turned out in force to celebrate their new £210,000 sports and community facilities - and see them given the Royle seal of approval.
Guest of honour Ipswich Town boss Joe Royle was greeted by a huge crowd of hundreds of people as he opened the new pavilion for Kirton Kestrels and unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion.
Club officials are thrilled to have the building - the culmination of nearly a decade of hard work - and say it launches a new era for the team.
Chairman Phil Barker said: "It is just fantastic - I feel like punching the air.
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"We started talking about having a pavilion like this back in 1995 and it's been a lot of hard work since then.
"The support we have received from the community has been tremendous and I particularly want to thank the parish council and the Football Foundation."
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Treasurer-secretary John Beer, who founded the Kestrels back in 1986, said: "The building is absolutely terrific and it's a fabulous facility for the club and the village. I am really chuffed - it's unbelievable.
"It's a great platform for the club to move forward and while we didn't build it to take on 50 extra boys, the potential is there to grow and we will be increasing the coaching and now have room for more players."
The brick-built pavilion replaces a 40-year-old dilapidated wooden building with a leaking roof, which was described as "totally inadequate" and too cramped to cater for so many players needing to wash and change at the same time.
The new building on the recreation ground in Back Road will be used also used by two senior football clubs, various village groups and as a base for other sporting activities.
It features four changing rooms, two referees changing areas and a social area. All facilities will be fully accessible for disabled players and fans.
With the facilities the club will establish an annual mini soccer five a side competition, create new opportunities for football-mad girls in the community as well as boosting participation rates for footballers of all ages and abilities.
The club and community has raised more than £45,000 for the pavilion, which also received £146,000 from the Football Foundation and grants from other a number of other bodies.
Around £15,000 still needs to be found and fundraising activities are still taking place, while major businesses in the area have also been asked to help.