FORMER Newcastle United and England footballer Peter Beardsley officially opened a new state-of-the-art playing surface in south east Northumberland on Wednesday.
The full size 3G artificial grass football pitch at Sporting Club Cramlington, was completed with a £100,000 investment from Cramlington Learning Village and Blyth Valley Arts and Leisure, and a £185,000 grant from the Football Foundation.
As well as the pupils of Cramlington Learning Village, Cramlington Town FC and Cramlington Juniors FC who each contributed £1,500, will also use the new facility.
The floodlit pitch can be divided into areas for training or competitive matches and is also available for hire by residents and teams.
Community support was received from Cramlington Town Council and Northumberland county councillors, Tom Brechany and Barrie Crowther, who all committed funds to the project.
The opening coincided with a Newcastle United Foundation soccer school at the site that was enjoyed by more than 60 youngsters who were already putting the new pitch to good use during the school Easter holidays.
Peter Beardsley said: “This surface will make a real difference to grassroots players who are developing their skills and it’s great to see Football Foundation funding recognising partnerships such at this one.”
Paul Steanson, director of sport at Cramlington Learning Village, said: “We are delighted to see this facility open in Cramlington.
“It will enhance teaching and learning, create opportunities for our pupils and will support the terrific work of football clubs in our community.
“We are extremely grateful to the Football Foundation for making this possible in Cramlington and for the support we have received from Blyth Valley Arts and Leisure and the Northumberland FA.”