MORE than 200 Stedham villagers turned out for the official opening of a new state-of-the-art £440,000 sports pavilion.
The first ribbon across the entrance to the building was ceremonially cut by Linda Heathcoat-Amory – a member of the Monument Trust which provided substantial funding for the project.
A lot of people were very surprised to see what a lovely and high-spec building the new pavilion has turned out to be
David Burton, who has been involved in the planning of the new pavilion since the idea was mooted in 2007, is now chairman of the new Stedham Sports Association.
He welcomed guests from Stedham and the surrounding villages and thanked the host of people who helped the dream of the pavilion to become a reality.
“It was a really wonderful occasion,” he told the Observer.
“Considering the shocking weather we were thrilled with the number of people from all sections of Stedham who turned out as well as people from further afield.
“After the official opening, we showed people around the building and there were so many fantastic comments.
“A lot of people were very surprised to see what a lovely and high-spec building the new pavilion has turned out to be.”
The Monument Trust was set up by the Sainsbury family.
Simon Sainsbury, who lived in nearby Woolbeding House for many years, was a great supporter of many projects in the Midhurst area.
Also at the ceremony was Stewart Grimshaw who was instrumental in helping villagers secure funding.
He was Simon’s partner for 40 years, until his death in 2006.
More ceremonial ribbon cutting took place inside the pavilion by special guests and long standing sports supporters in Stedham.
They included Ruth Lintott, John Weston, John and Bernie Hills, Derek Christmas, Jean Lintott and George Baigent.
After the reception, a charity football match was organised in memory of a sportsman and lifetime member of the former Collins Club, Bill Booker.
The proceeds from the match will go to St Wilfrid’s Hospice.
Anyone who would like to join the new sports association can contact secretary Sue Yates on 01730 814696.