A crowd of around a hundred villagers gathered in Addingham to celebrate the official opening of the new £125,000 multi-use games area (MUGA) on Friday.

Addingham gala queen Keira Heckman declared the new facility between Main Street and Stockinger Lane open and Ilkley’s MP Kris Hopkins told the crowd it was the one of the best sporting venues in any village in the area.

Mr Hopkins congratulated Addingham Civic Society for having the vision to create such a valuable resource for the community.

The two major funders, Yorventure (through funds generated by Yorwaste Ltd) and landfill tax distributor Wren, were thanked for their generous support, as were all the local funders whose contributions have helped to raise all but about £5,000, which is still needed for the lights and some landscaping.

After the formalities of the ribbon- cutting, local youngsters could not wait to start playing basketball and were soon joined by members of the Civic Society committee.

Keith Appleyard, the Civic Society’s project manager, said he was very pleased with the immediate response of the youngsters.

“Addingham Primary School and Ilkley Grammar School have both been using the MUGA in the week leading up to the opening, the Primary School in particular using it as an integral part of their sports week,” he said. “This is exactly the reason why we built the facility, to encourage young people to get involved with sport and it is really satisfying to see how many of them have come back after school to play – in fact at times they have been queuing to use it!

“A telephone booking system is now in place for local sports clubs and individuals who want to book specific times to use the MUGA and they can do this by calling the hotline on 07557395857. When it is not booked it is available for everyone in the village to use free of charge.

“We have already had suggestions for several new sports that are not on offer locally, such as volleyball, and there have been enquiries about using the MUGA for keep fit and similar exercise classes. We hope the MUGA will also be used during Addingham Gala on July 13.”