Town to play at Vicky Hall memorial

BIG-hearted Ipswich Town footballers will play a special match and a pavilion will gain the Royle seal of approval as a village remembers murdered schoolgirl Vicky Hall.

BIG-hearted Ipswich Town footballers will play a special match and a pavilion will gain the Royle seal of approval as a village remembers murdered schoolgirl Vicky Hall.

A bumper gala day is being organised for the official opening of the £260,000 memorial to the 17-year-old sixth former from Trimley St Mary, it was revealed today.

It is planned to open the pavilion being named in Vicky's memory in early August - just a few weeks before the fifth anniversary of her death.

The building is almost complete and Trimley Red Devils will move in over the summer months ready for the start of the new season.

Ipswich Town manager Joe Royle will officially open the facility and bring with him a Select XI team of former players and youth team players for a match against a Trimley Red Devils side.

Terry Baxter, the club's media and communications manager, said: "We are delighted to be invited to be involved with this occasion and more than happy to help in any way we can.

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"It will be a very poignant occasion but also very special for the people of Trimley St Mary, and the pavilion will be an important facility for the area's young footballers."

Bob Race, chairman of the Red Devils, said Ipswich Town's involvement was "great news" and thanked Ipswich Town for their tremendous help and support.

"I think everyone - including Vicky's parents, who are very involved with the Red Devils - will be thrilled that Ipswich Town will be supporting this very special day," he said.

"We will be talking to the club about fixing a date for the opening and we hope that everyone in the village will turn out for the occasion. We want this to be a very special day.

"The pavilion is a memorial to Vicky and on the day we will be remembering her in an appropriate way as well as celebrating the opening of the pavilion which will bear her name."

The pavilion on Stennetts Memorial Playing Field is virtually complete. Flooring is currently drying out before the final surface can be put down, and contractors Heronbuild have one or two more finishing touches to do.

The memorial appeal launched by the Evening Star raised £310,000 - £100,000 from fundraising, and a £210,000 grant from the Football Foundation. Of the foundation's grant, £160,000 will go towards the cost of the sports pavilion, and £50,000 for the football development programme.

The pavilion will be used by hundreds of young footballers, boys and girls, and other sports players and community groups.

The Red Devils has more than 150 players from under eights boys teams to the under 16 team. The new facilities are expected to attract many new players, including girls' teams.

Vicky, 17, went missing as she walked home from a nightclub in September 1999. A murder inquiry was launched after her body was found a week later in a ditch 24 miles away at Creeting St Peter.

WEBLINK: www.footballfoundation.org.uk

www.eveningstar.co.uk

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