Olympic legacy brings Whaley sports dream nearer

A bumper  cheque for £38,980 was handed over towards Whaley Bridge’s vision  for upgrading the facilities around our  fast-improving ‘sports village’.  The award,  from Sport England’s  Olympic legacy funding, has allowed the hard surface at the multi-use games area off  Park Road to be replaced by high quality artificial grass, among the best in the county.  New fencing and improved disability access to the adjoining pavilion, as well as the renovated floodlighting for the playing pitch, are major plusses for the growing number of people using the facility.

Whaley Bridges new 3G artificial grass pitch

Ben Williams of Sport England – a Whaley Bridge resident – presented  the cheque to Cllr Jon Goldfinch, Chair of Whaley Bridge Town Council and Steve Rampley, chairman of Whaley Bridge Football Club.  The council and the football club have been partners in fundraising for this major community project costing a total of £155,000.

Worth a shot: L to R Steve Rampley, Ben Williams, Andrew Bingham, Jon Goldfinch , and with the ball, Ethan Williams


High Peak MP Andrew Bingham joined  Cllr Goldfinch in celebrating the cheque presentation.  They broke off for a short kick-around with young footballers.   The youngsters carried on later, enjoying the relief of playing on a surface where, if you fall, you don’t scrape your knee any more!

Football celebration: Jon Goldfinch with Andrew Bingham join in kick-about

Cllr Goldfinch said:  “It has taken just under three years of hard effort to get to this point, but every second of that effort has been worth it. We are incredibly grateful to those who have made this project possible, in particular the Football Foundation who have contributed £97,000, Sport England’s £38,980, and Whaley Bridge Football Club, who raised £8000.  Generations of children will benefit and Whaley Bridge can be proud to have one of the best artificial grass surfaces you can get.  This has been a really good year for Whaley Bridge.”

Children enjoy the new all-weather pitch, with snow on the hills in the background

Other donors in the cash kaleidoscope that has helped a dream come true are:

Whaley Bridge Town Council……           £5,000

Derbyshire County Council………           £4,000

DCC (Community Action Fund)…            £1,000

Friends of the Memorial Park……            £1,000

Jon Goldfinch gave his council chair allowance of £300, with a matching personal contribution. 

Andrew Bingham congratulated everybody involved:  “It’s great to see the benefit of the Olympics here, with High Peak residents sharing the Olympic legacy.”

London Olympics chief Seb Coe talked of ‘a whole range of  sporting opportunities to inspire youngsters’.

Technical file: 

  •      The new playing surface is a 40mm third generation artificial grass pitch from FieldTurf.  It uses the latest Revolution 42-14 fibre, and is infilled with sand and rubber granules from re-used lorry tyres
  •   A 15mm rubber shock pad sits underneath the playing surface to give it an exceptional feel.
  •   The 40m x 33m suface can be split in two with a dividing net.  It is a FIFA1*  surface, but also approved for hockey.
  •  Other sports that are possible are lacrosse, soft tennis, netball and athletics training.

Hiring charges:

  •  Hire charges are £28 per hour peak times, or an introductory £15 off-peak (9am-3.30pm). Block bookings over 10hrs at peak times are charged £26/hr. Floodlighting included as neccessary.  Bookings through the town clerk 01663 733 068 or in due course by a web based system on www.whaleybridge.com . The income is intended to make the facility self sustaining, and goes towards the maintenance and running costs of the facility, as well as to a sinking fund to cover replacement of the top surface in around ten years.A small surplus is anticipated which will go into projects to further improve the facility for the benefit of the users.

Footwear rules:

  • Footwear for the new surface must be football boots with moulded studs (8mm max length), specialised artificial grass boots or astroturf  trainers with round dimples.  No blades,  metal, or metal tipped studs allowed.  All footwear to be clean.