101-year-old ‘Supporter of the Year’ unveils new sports complex in Cambridgeshire

John Shannon (centre), the FA Respect 'Supporter of the Year', joined Bottisham Village College Prin

John Shannon (centre), the FA Respect 'Supporter of the Year', joined Bottisham Village College Principal, Jenny Rankine (centre left), for the official opening of the all-weather pitch. - Credit: Archant

A 101-year-old sports fanatic unveiled a new state-of-the-art 3G artificial grass pitch at Bottisham Village College.

John Shannon, who is 101 years old and has been involved in sports from a young age, also made a brief speech highlighting how impressed he was with the college’s new football facility and what it means for the local community.

Mr Shannon, who is FA Respect ‘Supporter of the Year’, was joined by principal, Jenny Rankine, for the unveiling on Saturday.

The new facility was made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.

The grant enabled the college to install the all-weather pitch, which will be used by its students as well as partner club Bottisham FC and other local grassroots clubs, including Exning United FC, Soham Town FC and Cambridge City FC.

Additionally, local professional clubs Norwich City FC and Cambridge United FC both plan to use the facility to deliver community outreach sessions, such as holiday camps.

Bottisham Village College were awarded a £265,527 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund towards the project.

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The college worked alongside the Football Foundation and the Cambridge FA to compile a five-year Football Development Plan, which is a vision of how sport will be played on site with an emphasis on increasing participation.

Partner club Bottisham FC currently has eight teams, but are expecting to increase to 17 thanks to access to the new all-weather pitch – four of which will be female sides.

Jenny Rankine, principal of Bottisham Village College, said: “This exciting new facility will greatly enhance the PE and school sport experience for all the students of Bottisham Village College and its wider community.

“The state-of-the-art floodlit 3G AGP will allow us to expand our curriculum provision and will be used by students in and out of lessons during the day. Furthermore, it will allow us to further participation in the local community and develop opportunities to inspire all ages and ability levels to be physically active.”