Monday, 25 May 2020
HENLEY Rugby Club will replace its articial pitch despite financial concerns exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
The tiger turf at Dry Leas in Marlow Road, was due to undergo accreditation this summer to confirm it is suitable for continued use.
However, two years ago the club was told the surface would probably not pass its next assessment and needed to be replaced.
It is used by schools, businesses and other sports clubs so the club has applied for grants as well as interest-free loans from the Rugby Football Union to help pay for the work.
Funding has also come from sponsorship, grants and donations. One sponsor, who will be announced at the launch of the new facility, has provided £50,000.
South Oxfordshire District Council has approved a £37,500 community grant and individual donations totalling another £30,000.
The money all has to be spent on the project and the club itself must also raise more than £10,000 to ensure the work can go ahead.
It has devised a raffle scheme to help cover this cost and needs support from 750 members.
They are encouraged to make a donation through the club shop or website and take part in a prize draw. So far the scheme has raised about £6,000.
The draw has been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic and a new date has yet to be confirmed.
Chairman Chris Nixon encouraged members to support their club.
He said: “Let me reassure you the old adage ‘there's plenty of money at Henley Rugby Club’ is certainly not true, and these times are proving to be very difficult as most of you will know.”
“This new facility will be enjoyed by all of us and many from the local community.
“We look forward to unveiling our wonderful new asset for the new season in July and thank you for your support and interest in this exciting and necessary project.”
Henley had their 2019/2020 season brought to an early conclusion due to the covid-19 outbreak.
Originally all fixtures were postponed until mid-April but on March 20 the RFU called an end to all rugby union league and cup competitions below the top division in the country.
Henley Hawks were fourth in National Division 2 South with five matches remaining, six points behind first placed Taunton Titans and three points behind play-off hopefuls Tonbridge Juddians in second.
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