The future of one of Ribble Valley’s biggest junior football teams is brighter after securing a new 25-year lease at the historic High Moor Playing Fields - a place they can finally call “home”.
The Clitheroe Royal Grammar School Foundation has ensured the continuity of junior football in the borough by signing the lease with The Ribble Valley Community Sports Trust, with the intention that the facilities will be used by Clitheroe Wolves.
The move comes weeks after Ribble Valley Borough Council rejected a million pound project by the RVCST and Lancaster Foundation for the creation of two state-of-the-art 3G multi-use pitches at Roefield Playing Fields.
Ross Hibbert, chairman of Clitheroe Wolves, described the lease at High Moor as a “dream come true”.
He continued: “We have been in existence for 26 years and throughout this time, despite the fact that many thousands of children have played football for the Wolves, we’ve never had a permanent home. This arrangement is a dream come true.
“We now have a long-term arrangement and I know that we’ll be able to provide the children of Clitheroe with a wonderful sports facility at High Moor. Now, we can access funds for much-needed improvements including refurbishment of the pavilion and changing rooms, as well as upgrading pitches. We can provide comfortable facilities for parents and I’m really looking forward to making the most of High Moor. I attended the grammar school and have lots of happy memories of my time spent on the playing fields and hope the Wolves can give similar memories to the children who will use it in the future. Having had many discussions with the Foundation Trustees about our plans, I know how much they understand and appreciate the importance of sport in the wider community. They have been incredibly helpful and supportive.”
For several years there have been no school sports lessons or matches at High Moor as the school has all the necessary facilities at its Chatburn Road site. Wolves have used the playing fields during this period, but were unable to obtain grants for long-term improvement plans due to the short-term nature of the arrangements. The new lease will solve this problem.
Chairman of the Foundation Trustees, Dr Andy Clayton, said: “We cannot over-emphasise the massive contribution made by Wolves to the community in Clitheroe and the wider area. Currently they provide organised football facilities for over 600 children and young adults. The Foundation Trustees are delighted to have been able to help Wolves and wish them every success for the next 25 years and beyond!”