New home signals new chapter for Bakewell Mannerians RUFC
A new dawn awaits Bakewell Mannerians RUFC following its 90th anniversary year.
The rugby club, situated in the Derbyshire Dales, finally has a home to call its own off Shutts Lane in Bakewell.
On the roughly 6.5 acres of land, the club has planned for two full-sized pitches, a training area and a welfare centre.
Its first team began using one of the pitches at the start of the current season, while work on the second pitch is set to start.
The welfare centre, which will provide a refreshments area, first aid facilities and toilets, is scheduled for completion this summer.
All at a cost of around £250,000.
It is hoped the new home - on a 25-year lease from Lord Edward Manners - will signal the start of a new era for the club.
Mannerians chairman Tim Sargent said the move was centred around providing a better player experience and growing the club in the community.
"We'd played at Bakewell Showground for years, it's one of the best settings for a game of rugby, but it was next to the river and we were losing more games than we were playing so we decided to break off from there," he said.
"For the last few years we had been using Lady Manners School, who we get on with really well, but we felt the time was right to have a place of our own where we can grow the club in the coming years.
"We spoke to Lord Edward Manners and came to an agreement to use a patch of land off Shutts Lane. He's very kindly given us a 25-year lease at a reasonable rate, which is enough room for two pitches, a training area and a welfare centre.
"We've played there twice in January this year and to play rugby in Bakewell in January is a novelty."
Funds for the project have been raised through its 90th-anniversary gala held at Casa in Chesterfield and purchases of commemorative plaques.
While grants were achieved from Sport England and a section 106 agreement from Derbyshire Dales District Council/Peak Park to replace lost playing fields.
Sales of plaques have contributed more than £26,000 already and there are still some available to purchase, to be housed on the welfare building's walls forever.
"The support has been amazing," said Sargent, who has a long association with the club having joined as a player aged 18.
"We'd like to thank everyone who has been involved so far from committee members, volunteers, sponsors and supporters - they've brought this idea to life.
"To have a proper home is a massive achievement and will give us that focus that we've never had before.
"It's a big step and we're excited to see what the future might hold for the club.
"It's very much a new chapter in its history."
Officials hope to expand the club beyond its two men's teams and mini section into women's rugby and walking rugby in the future.
It welcomes new members and sponsorship. Interested? Contact chairman Tim Sargent on 01629 814299.