Huge community support after football pitch vandalised
PUBLISHED: 11:11 19 December 2019 | UPDATED: 12:20 19 December 2019
A football club chairman has expressed his gratitude to the community for helping to fund pitch repairs after it was vandalised.
Loddon United was forced to call off its big derby match last weekend after deep tyre tracks were left all over their pitches in what was described as a "mindless act of vandalism".
People had driven onto the club's pitches at The Jub off George Lane, Loddon, leaving deep tyre tracks and large mud patches after driving around on the turf overnight on Wednesday, December 11.
Loddon United had already invested around £2,000 in upgrading and maintaining the pitches, and now face another big bill to pay for repairs.
But this heavy financial burden has been lightened somewhat by a number of donations which has seen more than £1,200 raised to help pay for the work.
The club had originally aimed to raise £1,000.
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Club chairman Richard Summons said: "We've exceeded the target we set which is fantastic, especially given the time of year. It just goes to show how much people care and want to support their local community.
"Myself and the football club as a whole, the men's, women's and juniors' teams, want to say a massive thank you to everybody who has contributed. It makes a huge difference for us."
As well as individual donations, South Norfolk Council has also contributed along with a number of other local football clubs.
The money will go towards the repairs to the pitch and, if possible, towards increased security around the pitch in the form of barriers to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Although some of the funding is now there for the club, Mr Summons says that there is still a way to go before the ground is ready to host football matches again.
He said: "We're looking to be ready, at the earliest, around mid-January, but that's weather dependent. I think some of the work needed is dependent on a certain temperature, which is difficult this time of year. We need to speak to local clubs to see if we can arrange to use other facilities in the meantime.
"We've had a session with the council's playing field committee to see if we can get planning permission to build barriers which would increase security around the pitch and enhance the facilities, which would be brilliant for the club and for the community.
"It's been stressful, but all the generosity of the public and the community has massively helped. We're very thankful and we will be spending the money wisely and carefully. We're a small club and we don't have a huge amount of expendable income anyway."