England star opens new pitch

Michael Dawson is pictured cutting the ribbon with Phil Benaiges, watched by pupils from the school.
Michael Dawson is pictured cutting the ribbon with Phil Benaiges, watched by pupils from the school.
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England footballer, Michael Dawson, returned to his roots to officially open a £150,000 facility at his old school.

The Spurs star cut the ribbon on the Leyburn based Wensleydale School and Sixth Form all weather pitch.

Michael, who took time out of his training and rehabilitation schedule to give some football tips to pupils, said he was excited to be back at his old school.

“It’s great to come home to open this facility. It is so much better than the surfaces that I learned to play on when I was a teenager.

“The pitch will be a huge asset to both the school and the community for all sports,” he said.

He was joined at the celebration by pupils, civic dignatories and people who helped make the pitch a reality.

The opening was the final stage in a plan to create new sports facilities in Leyburn. The pitch, used by both the school and the local community, opened to the public at the end of last year.

It is suitable for football, hockey and practice netball, and is floodlit to provide winter and night time community use.

The pitch was made possible thanks to a £100,000 grant from Richmondshire District Council and local fundraising.

“It has taken us 17 years too long to get to this point but we have made it in the end,” said Council Leader, Councillor John Blackie.

Phil Benaiges, Headteacher of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form said: “We are delighted we have been able to achieve our long-cherished ambition of providing high quality sports facilities for both student and community use.

“This is yet another indication that our school is going from strength to strength.”