LONG-awaited work on a boost for rugby facilities in Dewsbury got under way this week.
The first phase in creating new facilities for Dewsbury Celtic at Crow Nest Park will see new gates and entrance, a 55-space car park and sewer work ahead of a future clubhouse build.
Celtic chairman Francis Cummins said the project was ‘a monument’ to the club and the people of Westtown.
But he said there was still a long way to go to complete the overall scheme with a clubhouse with around £350,000 of funding still needed.
The work, which began on Monday, also includes realignment of the wall opposite Park Croft and is likely to last 12 weeks.
The Celtic project has been ongoing since 2004. Mr Cummins said: “It has been a struggle to get where we are today. It began just as lottery funding to sport took a dive. Then the London Olympics were announced, which hit the Rugby Football League’s ability to fund projects such as ours.”
The Irish government were first to help out by funding architect’s fees for plans for the changing room block and extra pitches in the park.
Council officers persuaded the Secretary of State to change the use of old allotments for sport pitches.
“The club has worked really hard and raised around £80,000 for the building project on top of the £25,000 a year it costs to run the teams,” said Mr Cummins.
The Irish again granted funds for the building and this was followed by £50,000 from Kirklees Council and the area committee. The RFL could not bridge the gap to complete the £600,000 project, so it was decided to phase in the build.
“We have had many contributions from individuals and local firms and these have been much appreciated,” said Mr Cummins. “The building will stand as a monument for all Celtic players, officials and supporters and the people of Westtown.”
He paid tribute to late club secretary Paul Bedford: “He started the project but, sadly, didn’t live to see a spade hit the ground.”