A new chapter in Chesterfield Panthers’ history will begin on Saturday when the club officially unveil its home on Dunston Road.
The £1.8 million facility boasts three rugby pitches, two football pitches, a cricket square and a multi-use games area as well as a clubhouse which includes six changing rooms.
The opening will commemorate the end of a 25-year struggle to make the club’s vision for improved rugby facilities and a community resource a reality, and mark the beginning of a new era for the Panthers.
Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins, one of the club’s former players, will preside alongside Paul Murphy, the immediate past President of the Rugby Football Union.
Mr Perkins said: “Having spilt blood and sweat playing for Chesterfield Rugby in the past, I’m thrilled Chesterfield Panthers have the new ground they have wanted so long.
“The club’s new facilities will raise the profile of rugby in the local area, improve participation in sport and benefit the wider community.”
Another former player, London Wasps scrum half Charlie Davies, returned to coach the club’s seniors recently. It appears to have had the desired effect with the team second in the Midlands Division Four (North East).
Davies said: “It’s great news to me that Chesterfield Panthers has moved to their new ground. This has been a long process so it’s fantastic for the people that have worked so hard in making it happen and for the people that will benefit from it.
“Chesterfield is a club very close to my heart as it is where I started my rugby life and so will always have very fond memories. It’s brilliant the club is growing and going new places.”
The project received significant funding from a number of sources, including Sport England, Rugby Football Foundation and Derbyshire County Council.
Panthers’ 16 sides have been playing on the 23-acre site since the summer after the club moved from its long-standing ground on Sheffield Road.
Panthers president Michelle Lord added: “I am passionate about Chesterfield Panthers RUFC, not only in my position as president but also as a player for the ladies team and a mother to two young children.
“I know what a rewarding sport rugby is for youngsters to get involved with. Most of all, it instils a sense of pride that comes to the fore on the pitch.”