Norwich City players officially open new hi-tech football pitch and dance studio at Northgate High School in Dereham

Norwich City Academy players (L) Ben Godfrey and Todd Cantwell with students and guests at the openi

Norwich City Academy players (L) Ben Godfrey and Todd Cantwell with students and guests at the opening of the newly laid football pitch at Northgate High School in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Canaries academy player Todd Cantwell, 18, played on the hallowed artificial turf at Northgate High when he was a pupil, before signing up to become a professional footballer.

Norwich City Academy players (L) Ben Godfrey and Todd Cantwell with students and guests at the openi

Norwich City Academy players (L) Ben Godfrey and Todd Cantwell with students and guests at the opening of the newly laid football pitch at Northgate High School in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Today he was joined by fellow City player Ben Godfrey to celebrate its state-if-the-art replacement, featuring the latest playing surface.

Head Glyn Hambling said the 3G pitch is filled with a special cork, instead of the usual rubber crumb.

Northgate is one of few sites in the country to have a pitch containing cork, which is better for the environment because it can be recycled when it wears out.

Mr Hambling said it also provided a better playing surface, did not stain and retained little heat.

The two City players also opened the school's new dance studio, which will be used by GCSE and A-Level students, along with dance clubs.

It boasts a harlequin dance foor, full length mirrors, a ballet bar, quadrophonic sound system and an interactive TV screen, which enables students to choreograph their routines.

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Mr Hambling said like the pitch, it would be available for the community when it was not being used by students.

'We've asked Ed Balls, who's the chairman of Norwich City Football Club, if he'd like to come and try it out some time,' he added.

'With his Strictly Come Dancing connections, we thought he might like to come and give it a go.'

The pitch can be hired out for events, games and kick-abouts from 7 - 9.30pm Monday to Thursday, and 8.30 - 9.30pm on Fridays.

For more information, call Mr Emmerson on 07771 942446 or e-mail communitysports@northgate.norfolk.sch.uk.

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