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Royal Wootton Bassett Clubhouse cheers
7:00pm Friday 13th September 2013 in News
A 10-year dream to build a £1.3m rugby clubhouse in Royal Wootton Bassett has become a reality – and scores of people were there to witness the grand opening.
A marching band kicked off Saturday’s celebrations with a parade through High Street leading to the club’s new ground at Ballards Ash, where Bob Reeves, the president of the Rugby Football Union, cut a red ribbon to officially open the clubhouse.
Club vice-chairman Jim Brierley said he was overwhelmed by the turnout, estimating at least 1,000 adults and 2,000 children went along to view the sports facilities on Saturday afternoon.
“It exceeded even our wildest expectations by a country mile,” he said.
“The sight of all those people enjoying the facilities that we had worked so long and hard to get was like a dream come true.
“It’s taken 10 years and a lot of work but it’s fantastic to have it opened. It was always our aspiration to have our own club.”
Michael Bennett, 66, of Penhill, whose grandson plays at the club, said: “The clubhouse looks really impressive.
“It’s great for the area. People will be able to use this for years to come.”
After the opening ceremony, a Welsh male voice choir entertained crowds before a military fly-past stole the limelight. A team of parachutists then brought back in the sports element to the day by delivering a match ball from the skies.
Crowds cheered as the club’s Colts beat a side from Andover, and then saw a senior home side narrowly beaten by two points by a team of Army veterans, acknowledging the links the town has built with the military through the repatriation ceremonies.
Activities continued on Sunday when youngsters had a training session led by former England captain Lewis Moody, before taking part in a touch-rugby tournament.
Cash raised from the events will go to BLESMA – the British Limbless Ex-Service Men’s Association – and the Wooden Spoon, the rugby charity supporting mentally and physically disadvantaged children.
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