Club rename ground after generous founding farmer

The Walmer Bridge Juniors celebrate. From left, Drew Howard, Max Scott, Will Scott, Lily Hunt, Evan Billington, Jay Seed and Max Craven
The Walmer Bridge Juniors celebrate. From left, Drew Howard, Max Scott, Will Scott, Lily Hunt, Evan Billington, Jay Seed and Max Craven
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A kind farmer who donated his land to help children play football has been forever immortalised by a Lancashire club

When Walmer Bridge FC were in need of somewhere to call home 12 years ago, Richard Holmes came to its rescue as he leased the club his land on Marsh Lane in Longton.

The Walmer Bridge players enjoying the Football Day at Walmer Bridge FC

The Walmer Bridge players enjoying the Football Day at Walmer Bridge FC

But after Richard died three years ago, the club, along with the help of a £79,000 grant from Sport England, bought the land from his partner and has since transformed the field into adult and junior football pitches.

The club held a football tournament in honour of the naming ceremony on Saturday and Paul Bancroft, a trustee at Walmer Bridge FC said it was an “emotional” day.

“The day was a great success,” he said. “There were nearly 200 people there to celebrate the naming of the field and I think it was a nice gesture by the club. Richard leased the field to us when nowhere else would and for him to do that was just brilliant and has allowed so many children and adults to play football for the last 10 years and more. Him doing that was the start of the club and we’ve been slowly developing it ever since. I think Richard’s partner Anne was quite emotional when she cut the ribbon and it was a really great day.”

Although the club has been playing on the field for 12 years, next season will be the first time the Central Lancashire League club play on the The Richard Holmes Memorial Ground.

Some of the Walmer Bridge Juniors

Some of the Walmer Bridge Juniors

As well as turning the land into pitches, two new changing rooms, a referee’s changing room and a refreshment area has also been built.

The day ended with a presentation of all the season’s awards and trophies for the Walmer Bridge FC players.

The Walmer Bridge players compete during the Football Day at Walmer Bridge FC

The Walmer Bridge players compete during the Football Day at Walmer Bridge FC