A rugby club is celebrating after work began on transforming grassy land into two high quality pitches.
Wallsend Rugby Football Club secured funding totalling more than £215,000 from North Tyneside Council, the Rugby Football Union and Sport England to convert the disused fields next to St Peter’s Road, Wallsend, into match ready pitches.
And thanks to £80,000 from the RFU, Wallsend RFC has become a designated Lead Up and Legacy Centre for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, being staged in England and Wales.
Work is expected to be completed at the end of September, which would give Wallsend RFC their first formal home in their 51-year history and stop players having to train and play on two different sites.
Coun Eddie Darke, who attended the official groundbreaking ceremony with pupils from Churchill Community College, said: “North Tyneside Council is hugely supportive of Wallsend RFC’s plans and it is with pleasure we have been able to cut the turf today on a development that will have an extremely positive impact for many across the borough.
“As well as leasing the land to Wallsend RFC, we have contributed £86,000 to the project, which underlines how seriously we take our commitment to providing the best sporting infrastructure in the areas we serve.”
Ryan Thirlaway, chairman of Wallsend RFC, said: “Although it has taken a long time to get to this point, it has been worth all the effort and we are thrilled that work has finally started on site.
“I am very grateful to the council, our funders and to the club members, who are volunteers and who have worked tirelessly to make our dream a reality.”
Steve Grainger, rugby development director at the Rugby Football Union, said: “The new facilities will improve the quality of the rugby experience for everyone using the site and increase playing opportunities, especially for those based locally aged 14 to 24.”
For more, visit www.pitchero.com/clubs/wallsend