Crawley’s historic summer of sport is not over just yet, the FIFA World Cup in Russia saw England reach the tournament’s last four, a first for the senior men’s team in 28 years; and it featured two of Crawley’s favourite sons – England manager, Gareth Southgate and BBC Sport presenter Dan Walker. You are now being invited to be part of more sporting history in the town as Crawley Hockey Club crowdfunds a new state of the art pitch, based at the town’s Hazelwick School which will be available for community use.
Whether it was the national team’s footballers in the World Cup or the gold-winning Great Britain’s women’s hockey team in Rio at the 2016 summer Olympic Games, sports stars are not born overnight, dedication and hard work are needed as are the right facilities.
One local sports club hoping to make sporting dreams a reality is Crawley Hockey Club which has launched a crowdfunding appeal for a new state of the art pitch where members of the town’s community – individuals, groups and businesses can donate.
Retired head teacher and club president Sym Savage and retired GP and club chairman Dr Keith Truter are spearheading the crowdfunding campaign with a target of raising £150,000 to fund the work which is hoped to begin at Easter 2019.
It is hoped that the pitch will serve all, including those with disabilities to provide full-community access, opening sport to a wider section of the community – wheelchair tennis and walking football – the motto of the organisers is, come and play whatever your health and age.
Once completed the pitch will be funded by revenue income and a sustainability fund will be established to ensure its long-term status.
The club hopes to secure hockey centre of excellence status and in doing so promote ways young people of Crawley can work towards Duke of Edinburgh awards – through the centre of hockey excellence youngsters will be able to obtain new skills, whether playing, coaching or acting as a sports leader.
Once the pitch is in place, the club plans to organise a fundraising extravaganza. All money raised by the hockey fundraiser would go back to charities in Crawley.
Sym adds: “I am passionate about Crawley, and young people. If we’re successful in our pitch fundraiser the town will have supported us, we will then certainly want to give back.”
The club has already raised more than £24,000 through donations and fundraising events, the club’s members have a great commitment and as Sym says, ‘we had to begin by helping ourselves’ which is the philosophy as the club looks to work with the community.
Sym says: “To the young people of Crawley who want to play hockey my message is simple. If your school doesn’t currently run a team – come to us, we can run six-aside teams. I really am a firm believer that Crawley’s children and young people deserve the best that the town can give.”
Speaking about placing Crawley on the hockey map, Sym adds: “Our vision is one where Crawley’s youngsters will no longer need to travel to East Grinstead and Horsham for high-quality facilities.”
By Jacob White