Pledge lifts club spirits

THE race to save Ipswich Harriers is gathering pace. A cash donation of £2,000 has already been pledged, with the possibility of more to come.The plight of the club, formed way back in 1883, was highlighted in The Evening Star on Wednesday.

By Mel Henderson

THE race to save Ipswich Harriers is gathering pace. A cash donation of £2,000 has already been pledged, with the possibility of more to come.

The plight of the club, formed way back in 1883, was highlighted in The Evening Star on Wednesday. And within an hour of the paper being printed, Suffolk county councillor John Le Grys was on the phone to Harriers' chairman Iris Leigh.

She said: "I couldn't believe how quickly Mr Le Grys contacted me and I am certainly feeling a lot more optimistic than I was earlier in the week."

Mr Le Grys, who represents the Rushmere division, promised £2,000 from the community budget and said he would try to contribute even more.

Harriers, who have more than 300 members, need to raise £20,000 to fund the construction of a new clubhouse in time for the start of the new season in April.

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But the response to a circular letter highlighting their cash plight – and asking for £20-a-brick donations – was poor.

The current clubhouse is awaiting demolition for health and safety reasons and work on its replacement would have to get under way in March.

Mrs Leigh has also received other calls of support from people alerted to the club's cash crisis in Wednesday's paper.

She said: "One man who said he had been a member of the Harriers many years ago said he would be sending a donation.

"A woman also rang to say she could let us have the use of a scout hut in Gainsborough but unfortunately, because of its location, we had to decline.

"But I certainly feel much more positive about things having spoken to Mr Le Grys, although I must admit I am still a bit apprehensive.

"He is very supportive. Apart from taking an interest in the club, he is also a member of the board of governors at Northgate High School."

Track facilities at Northgate have been upgraded in recent weeks, but the Harriers are still struggling to have a clubhouse in place for the start of the new season.

A team of workers are standing by to commence work once the funds are in place and Mrs Leigh added: "Planning permission is not a problem. It is a formality because everyone wants to see a new building replacing the one that is there at the moment. It is such an eyesore."

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