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Saturday, 15 December 2012
Old Boltonians’ Football Club has secured its future at Turton Football Ground, one of the oldest pitches still in use in England, with the opening of the Lee Pavilion. Over 60 guests attended the opening ceremony which saw Bolton Wanderers’ legend Keith Branagan, who also teaches football at Bolton School, officially open the new premises. He was assisted by Rossendale and Darwen MP, Jake Berry; David Lee, Grounds and Pavilion Manager who oversaw the building work; Harry Lane, President of the OBAFC; and Richard Morris, Chairman of the club.
The funding campaign for the building was significantly boosted by a donation from the Football Foundation. Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I am delighted to see this tremendous new facility complete and ready for use by the local community. The dedication and hard work of Old Boltonians and the Lancashire FA over a number of years has resulted in the successful completion of this project. Now the important work begins to ensure the facility remains sustainable and benefits as many people as possible. None of this would be possible without the crucial cash provided by our funding partners the FA, the Premier League and the government.”
The Lee Pavilion has also been funded by the club itself as well as from generous donations from former players, friends and sponsors. By happy coincidence the new facilities mark 60 years of the club's use of one of the world's oldest football pitches.
The club’s Chairman, Richard Morris, said: “For years we have been working to replace our old unsuitable changing rooms which were beyond repair. Without the grant aid from the Football Foundation we would never have been able to achieve the building we now have and which secures the future of our Club and its historic ground. It means that our facilities meet the standards expected nowadays and, as well as being a fantastic asset for the Club, they provide an opportunity for wider community use to promote and sustain amateur football locally.”
The new sports pavilion comprises changing rooms for four teams and for officials, and toilet and refreshment facilities for spectators and visitors. Its completion will ensure that the Old Boltonians can maintain their four successful Lancashire Amateur League teams, and their newly formed veterans’ side, but can also provide greater community access to the ground. As well as the Club’s own sides, the ground will now be used by the University of Bolton, Bolton Sixth Form College, another local veterans’ team and by local schools. Bolton School will coordinate the educational use of the ground on behalf of the Independent Schools’ FA, with one of its aims being to support the development of the game for girls.
Old Boltonians is an “open” club but is still heavily dependent on former Bolton School pupils.
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