Newcastle United legends helped launch a new grassroots leisure park during a day of sporting celebrations in Seahouses today (Sunday, October 11).
Onlookers cheered as former Toon playmakers Lee Clark and Alan Thompson, with goalkeeper Steve Harper, kicked off the new Seafield Sports Park with a celebratory football match against players from the current North Sunderland and Seahouses team.
Youngsters from the seaside club’s youth section took part in a coaching session with Clark, a previous reserve team manager and coach at Newcastle United before former Magpie chairman Sir John Hall officially opened the £200k sports facility, located off the village’s Broad Road.
Sir John Hall said: “Sport is part of our life here in the North East and this is a tremendous facility – the best I have seen around Northumberland. Seeing what has been done here is absolutely wonderful for the village and community and I am sure it will be well used.”
William Hall, who plays for Seahouses Juniors Football Club Under 10s, said: “I enjoyed the session with a famous footballer. We did shooting and passing the ball. It’s really good and I’m looking forward to playing here.”
The new sports facility was the game plan of the Seafield Caravan Park, who clinched a £50,000 investment from Sport England’s Protecting Playing Fields Legacy. Local fundraising efforts and sponsorship by local businesses secured the remainder of the project, which includes a full-size senior football pitch, a junior pitch and training facility, golf practice area for local juniors and new changing-room facilities, including heated showers and referees’ facilities.
North Sunderland Football Club was formed in 1890 but has not had its own pitch since 1972. The club was only able to play on local school fields with the kind permission of the headteacher at Seahouses Middle School.
The creation of Seafield Park has paved the way for the club to have its own sports pitches on land secured by a lease until 2070, ensuring the future of the football club.
Seafield Caravan Park owner Ken Britton said: “This is a great day for sports lovers in the community here at Seahouses. It has been our goal for a long time to create a dedicated sports pitch for the community to use as its own – whatever their discipline. It’s a much-needed facility which will be a real game-changer in helping our local sporting clubs progress up the league, as well as giving more sports enthusiasts the chance to play and help keep our grass-roots clubs moving forward.”