Teen makes plea for help in saving 'fantastic' 40-year-old hockey club
PUBLISHED: 12:42 01 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:22 01 November 2019
A hockey-mad teenager has pleaded with a councillor to help save her club after its future was put in jeopardy by plans for a new £440,000 3G pitch.
Paige Taylor, 14, a junior member of Thetford Town Hockey Club, sent a letter to Breckland councillor Terry Jermy in an attempt to rally support as her team's pitch at Breckland Leisure Centre in Croxton Road comes under threat.
Plans were revealed for a new 3G pitch costing £4400,000, with Breckland Council committing £96,000, to replace the centre's existing artificial turf.
But the club, which has been in the town since 1977, raised concerns as the pitches would not be suitable for their sport.
With fears of the club moving to another location further away and the closure of the junior section, players decided to take action.
In her letter to Mr Jermy, Miss Taylor said: "Hockey is no longer taught in many schools, including my school.
"By changing the pitch facilities this will put into jeopardy the great work that Thetford Hockey Club do for the youth of Thetford."
And Barry Reynolds, chairman and youth development coach of Thetford Hockey Club, said the club would "struggle to carry on", if the project went ahead.
Mr Jermy, who represents Thetford Burrell ward, promised his support and put his concerns to a meeting of Breckland Council on Thursday, October 31.
And at the meeting, councillors agreed to commit themselves to finding alternative hockey facilities in the town, after voting through an amendment stating that the council would commit to working to ensure a facility remains in Thetford which is suitable for hockey to be played.
Mr Jermy said: "I am very pleased about the investment in football facilities in Thetford but improving facilities to one sport can't be to the detriment of another."
A Breckland Council spokesman said Thetford is recognised by the Football Foundation an area in need of investment.
He said: "We understand that any pitch part-funded by the Football Foundation has to meet certain playing specifications and unfortunately this is not compatible with hockey.
"The next stage, ahead of any potential funding application by the council, is to continue our consultation with local clubs and key stakeholders over the comings weeks to discuss the implications and support available to help teams involved in other sports."