The village site off Garstang Road has officially re-opened after a major project to re-develop the pitches and transform the future of sporting opportunities for Chipping’s youngsters.
The club’s plans to turn the parish council-owned fields’ into ‘one of the best playing venues in the region’ were supported with the backing of sport’s charity Football Foundation who contributed £56,000 to the scheme.
Chipping FC spokesperson and council liason Laurence Brown said: “The grant from the Football Foundation was fundamental to this project going forward.
“The design for redevelopment was drawn up some 10 years ago but everyone involved knew it would be a big task both in terms of effort and money.
“Once the Parish Council gave it the green light a few years back, we worked closely with Lancashire FA to secure the all-important Football Foundation grant.
“The grant represents nearly one third of the overall cost and has given the necessary impetus to work towards obtaining the balance.”
Former Preston North End full back George Ross was invited for the grand opening on Saturday alongside former players of the club’s junior and senior teams.
The occasion was marked with a fixture between the Chipping legends and the club’s adult and Under 18s squad, which finished in a 3-3 draw.
Chipping FC chairman of the senior section Miles Thompson said: “It is wonderful to have the fields open but we’re not quite there yet and there is still work to finish.
“The fundraising will continue to meet the total costs and we’re looking towards more local grants.”
The newly drained and reshaped site will provide Chipping’s historic football club with a high quality playing environment, and allow it to develop and expand on its already impressive membership of 250 players.
Additional work on the drainage is not expected to be completed until the Spring and Thompson said the players will be going easy on the pitches until then.
The re-development has forced the club’s 18 squads to find alternative pitches for last year’s and the current season.
He added: “It’s been hard work for the teams finding alternative playing fields but it was all about the football and the teams will all be wanting to get back on their home turf and get Chipping Football Club back to where it wants to be.”
The club has put over £25,000 into the re-design, with £15,000 provided by the village hall and a further £10,000 from Chipping Steam Fair.
Fundraising group Chipping Pitches (CHIPS) have held a number of events to support the project and their work is ongoing.
Laurence Brown added: “There has been some great work done by CHIPS and everyone involved with the fundraising efforts and massive thanks to them all.”