RUGBY legend Bill Beaumont CBE was the guest of honour as the Whitechapel and Inglewhite communities marked a very special day on Sunday.
The former England skipper not only acted as official starter for the second annual Blacksticks Blue 10K road race, which saw 188 runners complete a beautifully scenic course around Beacon Fell and the surrounding country lanes, but he was also there for the official opening of the new multi-use games area, built following a superb community fundraising campaign.
Bill Beaumont said a few words at the start of the 10k before sounding the horn to send runners on their way.
Paul Muller from Horwich completed the course in 37.04 minutes to defend his title as reigning champion and Annika Jarman from Lancaster was the first lady with a time of 40.54 minutes, to cross the line and claim her Blacksticks Blue cheese, the reward for all finishers.
The organisers were particularly pleased to welcome two runners from Lancashire rugby who completed the course in very respectable times of 50.17 minutes and 52.22 minutes; also local runners who were well represented by Jonathon Haine who came 5th overall with a time of 39.48 minutes and Bill Pawson who won the over 55 category with a time of 43.30 minutes.
The focus then moved over to the multi use games area, referred to over the many years of fundraising as the Whitechapel and Inglewhite MUGA.
This time last year it was still just a dream and it is testament to the perseverance of the Whitechapel and Ingelwhite Community Enterprise Group and the support of the whole community that it has become a reality to be used and enjoyed by all.
Paul Stirrup, in his opening speech as chairman of WICE, referred to the tremendous community spirit that had enabled the project to reach this stage. In a reference to opener Bill Beaumont, Paul likened the project to the 1980 Rugby Grand Slam victory for England
He said: “Many, many years in the making, plenty of blood, sweat and tears, a few sneaky moves and good decisions from the ref and finally….victory!’’
Paul thanked everyone for their contribution to their own “Grand Slam Trophy” and handed over to Bill who kindly cut the ribbon and said a few well-chosen words emphasising the need for the local community to use this fantastic new facility.
The children needed no further permission and ran enthusiastically onto the pitch for their own 1K race; 5 laps of the new games area. First to complete the laps was Joshua Stirrup and all finishers were presented with a medal and the opportunity for a photo with Bill Beaumont CBE.
The day concluded with a prize giving ceremony and all winners received a cheese and wine hamper donated by local dairy Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses who kindly sponsored the race.
Organisers were delighted that Bill Beaumont agreed to stay to present the winners.
• The Whitechapel and Ingelwhite Games Area can be boked for tennis (3 courts) football, netball, hockey, bowls and general sporting activities by contacting 01995 640364 in school hours or mobile 07743192595. Alternatively visit the web site at http://inglewhite.net/wiceblog/ or http://inglewhite.net/wiceblog/ and for email contact use firstname.lastname@example.org