Villages to launch new facilities

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TWO villages are to celebrate landmark additions to their communities.

Walsham-le-Willows is gearing up for the official opening of its new playing field, artificial grass pitch and tennis court today.

Meanwhile, residents in Rattlesden are gearing up for the launch of its state of the art pavilion and playground next month.

The £400,000 facilities, in Summer Road, Walsham, have been commissioned by the village sports club on land which belonged to their president Richard Martineau’s family.

Ian Campbell, club treasurer, said: “The original stimulus for the project related back to Richard’s mother, who was always keen to see a public tennis court available for the village.

“The initial driver from his point of view and ours was to fulfill that wish.

“It also enables us to create additional pitches particularly for the youngsters - it’s going to greatly increase opportunities for them.”

The opening, performed by David Sheepshanks, chairman of the Suffolk Foundation and the FA’s National Football Centre and former chairman of Ipswich Town FC, starts at noon.

The pavilion and play area, in Rattlesden, which cost £480,000 collectively, has been built on the brownfield site of the village’s old pavilion.

The pavilion features a main hall, kitchen, bar, meeting room and changing rooms to cater for a variety of social, educational and sporting events.

The building incorporates green technologies such as a ground source heat pump as well as solar and photovoltaic panels.

The play area has been designed for children of all ages and abilities with the help of pupils at Rattlesden Primary School, who put forward ideas.

Neil Cole, vice-chairman of Rattlesden Community Council, which developed the scheme, said: “It’s basically a facility for all the community and local villages to maximise use of the green space.”

Gates open for the launch event on November 5 at 6.30pm.

It will coincide with the village’s annual firework display and includes a ribbon cutting ceremony led by Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley. There will be a barbecue, mulled wine, soup, tea and coffee.