New football nets erected at Thornhill Playing Fields in Elgin
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YOUNGSTERS in New Elgin have a new place to play sport after two sets of football goals were erected at Thornhill Playing Fields last week.
Wayne Grant, who stays nearby, raised £4000 in a matter of months to order two sets of seven-a-side goals for all to use free of charge.
As well as marking out two football pitches on the field, Moray Council painted a rounders area for people to use.
Mr Grant has been "overwhelmed" by the speed of the project, which he started in April, and is delighted to see kids making use of the facility already.
He said: "I'm really chuffed that we managed to get it together for the kids' holidays.
"I'm overwhelmed with how quick everything has happened.
"I was down putting the last net up on Tuesday (June 29) and there were 20 kids playing football, with teenagers on one side and a group of nine to ten year olds on the other.
"It was really go to see it being used, and they were still out playing at 9pm.
"There are lots of facilities in Elgin but also lots that you have to pay for. This is something for free, that kids can access without membership, they just have to turn up with a ball or bat and play."
Initially, Mr Grant's aim was to raise £2000 – but he smashed through that barrier, raising double the target.
This is thanks to a hugely generous £1800 donation from Dave Allen and Elgin Sports Community Trust, who are currently building the sports facility at Lesser Borough Briggs, as well as from Bishopmill Dental Practice and New Elgin Community Plan.
Wayne added: "When Dave found out how much we had raised, he donated this money to ensure that we got the best goals possible.
"He also helped with our ambitious target of getting everything ready for the school holidays."
The project isn't quite finished there, though, with plans to add some picnic benches around the fields to make the area more family friendly.
"The parents I've spoken to have been really chuffed and impressed with the set up," Wayne said. "But we aren't done – we are trying to raise money for picnic benches so families can come and enjoy the area.
"If we got the benches then the old folks home and the nursery could use them, too."
A Moray Council spokesperson added: "Moray Council is keen to support community groups encouraging the use of our open spaces and the Thornhill pitches are a great example of a community facility in New Elgin that will benefit from more frequent use.
"We are delighted to see locals using the area already.”
For more information, and to take part in a raffle aiming raising money to buy picnic benches for the area, you can visit 'Thornhill Football Pitches' on Facebook.