Scores of people gathered to celebrate the official launch of a £2.1 million project which will ensure sport is enjoyed at a Bury St Edmunds site for generations to come.
Sports enthusiasts, community leaders and councillors marked the start of the long awaited redevelopment of the Victory Ground, in Nowton Road.
A sports hall for neighbouring South Lee School is being built as well as a community pavilion run by Bury Cricket Club for the community and local sports clubs.
Paul Whittaker, chairman of the cricket club, said: “We’re relieved work is now underway after so many years of hard graft and excited for the future that lies ahead.
“It’s a facility we want to be used both for sporting and community purposes. We think it will benefit a lot of people in the town and particularly people on the south side.”
During the launch ceremony the Rev Malcolm Rogers, vicar of St Mary’s and St Peter’s Church, gave a prayer for the work ahead.
The project was made possible after the site was transferred from St Edmundsbury Borough Council to a community interest company, which includes the cricket club, school and Sporting 87 Football Club.
South Lee School supplied a large proportion of funding as well as The England and Wales Cricket Board.
Headteacher Derek Whipp said that although the sports hall will be used predominantly by the school, it will be available for the community outside of school hours.
He said: “I’m hoping that sports that struggle to find indoor space will be helped. We have another room that will be developed that will be ideal for dance and yoga.
“The hall will also broaden the range of sports and activities we can offer.
“We’ve got a long record of supporting sport in the community and around Bury so this is another step.
“It’s securing this area long term as a sports facility.”
The work by Barnes Construction is expected to last nine months with the new buildings ready to open in autumn.