Date published: 06/09/2013
A brand new indoor third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) dedicated to a local footballer tragically killed in the Isle of Man Manx Grand Prix motorcycle race, and funded by a Football Foundation grant, has opened its doors to the public.
On Sunday 1 September 2013, nine years to the day since Tom Clucas lost his life following an accident during the 2004 Junior Manx Grand Prix, his family gathered at the Douglas Road Ground to hear his playing colleague Kelvin Dawson make a most appropriate and poignant speech before the ribbon was cut to officially open the Tommy Clucas Community Sports Hall.
The new sports hall boasts an indoor 40m x 25m 3G AGP complete with LED lighting – the only one of its kind on the Isle of Man. This will provide a safe and enjoyable playing environment that can facilitate a wide range of sports. It will also ensure year-round availability for the whole community, in a coastal location where extreme weather conditions can often limit outdoor leisure participation.
Standing to benefit from the project are Peel AFC, whose 13 teams – from Mini-Soccer to seniors – will use the new the AGP for training.
The Tommy Clucas Memorial Fund (the Fund), formed by players and members of the Club together with friends and family of Tommy, have been actively fundraising to build this facility next to the Club’s clubhouse since the death of the dedicated former player in 2004. Since it was formed in 2005, the Fund has raised over £400,000. The new sports hall will provde a lasting memorial to Tom and bear testament to the outstanding fundraising work undertaken by members of The Fund Committee.
The Fund and Peel AFC worked in partnership with the Isle of Man FA to secure a £99,942 grant from the Football Foundation. Funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government (via Sport England), the Football Foundation is the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 8,000 grants worth more than £420m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £520m.
Neil Cain, Treasurer of The Tommy Clucas Memorial Fund and junior coach at Peel AFC, said: “We’re extremely grateful for the support given by the Football Foundation which has been instrumental in pushing our project funding over the line. As a coach, I recognise the significant benefits that an indoor AGP facility will offer and I’m really pleased to see the sports hall opening its doors to the Island’s community.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “This new 3G pitch and associated facilities will be a fantastic sporting asset for the local community, and a fitting tribute to former Peel AFC player, Tommy Clucas.
“Alongside the Isle of Man FA, The Tommy Clucas Memorial Fund and Peel AFC deserve great credit for all the hard work that they have invested into making sure this project has come to fruition.
“This project on the Isle of Man is a wonderful example of what the Football Foundation is doing right across the country. Foundation investment is helping to transform the national inventory of facilities that supports the grassroots game in this country, and thanks must go to our funding partners, the Premier League, The FA, and the Government (via Sport England) for their crucial and generous financial support, without which none of this would be possible.”
For more information about the work the Football Foundation is doing all over the country visit www.footballfoundation.org.uk or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/FootballFoundtn.
For more information contact:
• Neil Cain on 01624 494638 or firstname.lastname@example.org
• Abigail Jones on 0845 345 4555 Ext: 4282 or email@example.com