A host of famous former pupils will return to a Menston school for the opening of a £750,000 artificial pitch later this month.
The new sports facility at St Mary’s School will be officially opened by former England international and Football Association director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking, on Monday, March 21.
He will be joined by Peanut Baines, Nick Hodgson and Simon Rix from the Kaiser Chiefs, actor Matthew Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter films, Yorkshire cricketers Joe Sayers and David Wigley and professional footballers Aiden White, Niall Canavan, Tom Taiwo, Luke Hendrie and Jordan Sinnott, who all went to the school.
The new pitch is the culmination of more than a decade of campaigning and fundraising at the school and is also a boost to the wider sporting community including St Mary’s partner clubs of Guiseley Juniors FC, Menston Juniors FC and Burley Trojans FC.
The project at the sports college was part-funded with the help of a £325,000 grant from the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity, which has supported about 8,000 community sports schemes to the tune of £945m since it was founded in 2000.
Paul Thorogood, chief executive at the Football Foundation, said: “We are delighted that St Mary’s and the local community will have access to these fantastic new facilities and commend the school and the County FA for all their hard work.”
Assistant head teacher David Geldart said the pitch was a dream come true after years of campaigning.
“I am delighted with the new facilities, they are everything that we ever hoped for and they are no less than the school and the wider community deserves,” he said.
“There was always the need for such a facility in the area and it was just a question of convincing others of that fact and, of course, the small matter of raising the £750,000 which has not been easy.”
Acting head teacher Catherine McMahon said: “This outstanding state- of-the-art facility proved extremely difficult and time-consuming to bring to fruition. It is therefore all the more prized to us.”
To book the new facilities, call Chris Tindall on (01943) 883000 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.