After two years of fundraising Long Sutton Community Sports Association – in conjunction with Long Sutton Hockey Club – have managed to secure the funds to replace the carpet on their all-weather pitch at the Peele Leisure Centre.
The club is approaching its centenary year and, while the existing surface had given 21 years’ great service, wear and tear meant that without replacing it the club would be likely to have no pitch to play on.
Sutton then embarked on a fundraising drive that involved applying for grants from sports bodies and charitable trusts, as well as raising funds from a number of club organised activities.
After a lot of hard work the target of £200,000 was achieved – with considerable financial help from Sport England, the Hockey Foundation, the Alan Boswell Group Charitable Trust and the Gedney Wind Cluster Fund, as well as considerable donations coming from a number of ex-players, friends and benefactors to get them over the line.
The last games on the old carpet will be played on Sunday, with the works commencing on Monday. The new pitch should be in place in time for the post-Christmas re-start on January 11.
During this time, Sutton are working with the East Hockey League and other clubs to rearrange fixtures.
The pitch will not only provide a venue for league hockey, but also allows junior hockey to thrive in the town.
It will be an all-weather sports facility for the academy students next door and a venue which can be hired by other local sports clubs, so this development is good news for the wider local community as well as the hockey club.
Long Sutton Hockey Club chairlady Lorraine Wallis said: “With this new carpet, Long Sutton will once again offer playing facilities at a level that would not be expected for a rural small town.
“However, the funds raised and the support and commitment given by ex and current players really shows the love this club has in both the hockey community and the wider community as a whole.
“Whether, like me, you have played for the club for more years than I care to mention or you are a junior just starting out on your journey with Long Sutton, this is something we have looked forward to for some time – as well as something that we should be thankful of the support we have received and proud of the work we have put in to get us to this position.
“The existence of a hockey pitch is not only secured for the life of this carpet but plans are set in place for the next replacement as well.
“I would also like to say that, without the help and support from Sport England, the Hockey Foundation, England Hockey, the Alan Boswell Group Charitable Trust and the Gedney Wind Cluster Fund as well of the hard work of all of the members of the fundraising committee, we would not have achieved this.”