PNE star opens football pitches

Big boost: PNE's Joe Garner, centre, and the Mayor of the Ribble Valley Coun Bridget Hilton at the opening
Big boost: PNE's Joe Garner, centre, and the Mayor of the Ribble Valley Coun Bridget Hilton at the opening
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PNE star Joe Garner went back to his roots by opening a rural sports pitch in his hometown.

The new 3G pitches in Edisford Road, Clitheroe were officially opened by the PNE striker and Ribble Valley Mayor Bridget Hilton.

The £50,000 pitches have been funded by Ribble Valley Borough Council and Sport England’s Inspired programme, which is part of the London Olympics legacy

The facility first opened in 2002 featuring four tennis courts and a sand-based artificial turf football pitch. The new 3G pitch has a surface made from synthetic fibres and rubbers that look like grass, but unlike many artificial surfaces do not contain sand, so therefore can withstand heavy use and inclement weather.

Joe Garner, League One’s Player of the Year in 2014 and a former pupil of Ribblesdale High School in Clitheroe, played for Clitheroe Wolves FC and trained on the pitches.

He said: “I have many fond memories of playing on these pitches and this new facility will give local sport a fantastic boost.”

Clitheroe Wolves was formed in 1992 and received FA status in 2000. It has 34 teams and 440 players, including many girls.

The club’s vice-chairman, Neil Hitchen, added: “This new pitch will be invaluable for us, particularly in winter, and will be a fabulous facility for the town.”

Ribble Valley Mayor Coun. Bridget Hilton said: “Our thanks go to Sport England for their kind support and our community clubs, Clitheroe Wolves being a shining example, who work tirelessly to develop the borough’s young sporting talent.

“We are delighted to open this facility, which local residents can be proud of and enjoy for years to come.”