A new 3G football pitch was officially opened to the public in Halstead on Thursday 24th June by the wife of a beloved teacher from Ramsey Academy which the new pitch has been named in memory of.
The Calum Leys Memorial Pitch was officially opened by Lorraine Leys along with Ramsey Academy school captains Cobi Berkane and Ellie Pratt in a small ceremony at the Colne Road facility to meet current Covid-19 restrictions.
The recently-replaced full-size artificial grass football pitch was completed ahead of schedule at the start of June and boasts not only a full-size pitch but also five, seven and nine-a-side pitch markings. It is built to FIFA standards to enable competitive grassroots fixtures to be played at all levels.
The previous artificial football pitch was over twelve years old and teams from Halstead Town Youth FC were playing across five different venues. Now the new state-of-the-art 3G surface will allow the club to play all their matches in Halstead, accommodating 300 youth players, four senior teams and one ladies’ team.
Rob James, Executive Headteacher at Ramsey Academy, commented: “Calum wanted the students to have a ‘holistic learning experience.’ He knew academic qualifications are important, but so are the life skills and learning experiences that allow the students to challenge themselves and be ambitious.”
“Sport was obviously an important part of these experiences. It’s a fitting tribute that the new artificial grass pitch at Ramsey was officially opened last night and named in his memory. The ‘Calum Leys Memorial Pitch’ will be a tangible reminder of his contribution to the local community.”
Braintree District Council made an application to the Football Foundation to provide funding for a new artificial grass football pitch facility which will serve Halstead and its surrounding villages. The total cost of the project was £751,600 and, as part of the grant conditions, the Football Foundation required the Council to contribute 30% towards the total cost.
The Council’s funding was sourced from Section 106 contributions together with a capital contribution of £45,000 following unanimous approval from councillors back in February. Cllr Peter Tattersley, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “This new state-of-the-art 3G artificial football pitch is a fantastic asset to the Halstead community.”
Braintree District Council Chairman Cllr Sue Wilson was also in attendance, adding: “It was an honour to be in attendance at this event and see the official opening of this new sports facility in Halstead and its naming in tribute to a valuable and dearly missed member of the Halstead community.”
Essex County FA Development Manager, Nick Emery, was equally excited, adding: "This will be a fantastic facility for the grassroots football community in Halstead and the surrounding areas. We thank Braintree District Council, the Football Foundation and all other partners who supported the delivery of this project, which featured in their Local Football Facility Plan."
The new pitch can be booked via Fusion Lifestyle who operate Halstead Leisure Centre and will be available to Ramsey Academy via a joint use agreement. Find out more about facilities and funding in grassroots football in the menus above, by following @EssexCountyFA on Twitter and by searching for ‘EssexFootball’ on Facebook.