‘Dangerous’ playing field slammed after boy seriously injured

Mitchell Drake at Norristhorpe Recreation Ground. (D544B504)
Mitchell Drake at Norristhorpe Recreation Ground. (D544B504)

A mother is furious over the dangerous state of a local playing field after her son sustained injuries that nearly cost him his life.

Fourteen-year-old Mitchell Drake was playing football with friends at Norristhorpe Recreation Ground last September when he fell and cut his wrists on broken glass.

But months on from the accident the pitch is still littered with debris.

His mother, Sharon Grundell, said: “The surgeon who looked after him said he was the luckiest person in Pinderfields Hospital that night.

“I would have been about five minutes behind him if he had died.”

After the accident Ms Grundell, of Francis Street, Heckmondwike, called Kirklees Council and asked them to clear up the pitch.

She said she received a letter in which the council said its responsibilities were drawing white lines and completing routine litter picks.

It said the responsibility to keep the pitch safe before matches was with football clubs that use the facility.

Norristhorpe Juniors FC, which uses the pitch, chairman Dave Bardell said: “The club’s responsibility is make sure the pitch is safe for the players and that is what we do.

“If there is any responsibility it is with the person who broke the glass.”

Mitchell was not playing as a part of a club when he fell.

Coun Viv Kendrick (Lab, Heckmondwike) said she would pass on the concern to the next meeting of the Neighbourhood Management Group.

She said it was likely to be groups of youths that leave broken glass, which was a separate problem that needed to be dealt with.

Coun Lisa Holmes (Con, Liversedge and Gomersal) said: “The reality is the council cannot clean up every playing field. It is not financially viable.”

She said other residents would be unhappy if the field was closed off to the public because of broken glass.

A council spokesman said: “The council visits the recreation ground once a week prior to matches being played to check the site, repair the pitch and mark lines.

“We will, if made aware of broken glass or other acts of vandalism, send out a local maintenance team to check the site between these visits. We did not receive notification of the broken glass before this incident took place.

“A team visited Norristhorpe Recreation ground after Mrs Grundell contacted us and cleared the area of visible glass.

“Unfortunately some park users will act irresponsibly and leave broken glass on our sports pitches - ruining the experience for other users. As it is not possible for us to attend all our recreation grounds on a daily basis, we would advise all to be aware of the possible dangers resulting from anti-social behaviour and vandalism.”