Ely City Hockey Club needs YOU! Local hockey stars begin campaign to raise £100,000 so club's aging pitch can be replaced

PUBLISHED: 12:47 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 12:07 16 February 2017

Chairman of Ely City Hockey Club, Gemma Mott, and president, Trevor Hopkinson. They are appealing to the public to help them raise £100,000 so the club can replace its aging astro turf pitches. PHOTO: Seb Pearce

Chairman of Ely City Hockey Club, Gemma Mott, and president, Trevor Hopkinson. They are appealing to the public to help them raise £100,000 so the club can replace its aging astro turf pitches. PHOTO: Seb Pearce

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Over 100 of the city's finest hockey talents could be forced to play elsewhere unless Ely City Hockey Club can find £100,000 to resurface its pitch.

The surface on the pitches at Ely City Hockey Club is wearing thin, and could become unplayable if it is not replaced soon. PHOTO: Seb PearceThe surface on the pitches at Ely City Hockey Club is wearing thin, and could become unplayable if it is not replaced soon. PHOTO: Seb Pearce

The club is appealing to the public to help it raise the funds needed to replace its current pitch at Downham Road, which has served the club for almost a quarter of a century.

Ely’s six adult teams, 70 junior members and over 100 five-a-side footballers use the pitch every week, which, after 24 years, has caused its surface to become worn, bumpy and often waterlogged.

Senior figures from the club including president Trevor Hopkinson and chairman Gemma Mott are drawing up fundraising ideas as they believe time is running out for the aging artificial turf.

The pitches at Ely City Hockey Club haven't been replaced since 1993 and have one year's use left in them, according to president, Trevor Hopkinson. PHOTO: Seb PearceThe pitches at Ely City Hockey Club haven't been replaced since 1993 and have one year's use left in them, according to president, Trevor Hopkinson. PHOTO: Seb Pearce

“I think we can get one more year out of it,” Trevor said.

“Nobody has a pitch as used as ours. If the surface goes below 8mm then it is deemed unplayable, and there are patches where it is less than that already.

“We’re part of the 12 per cent of clubs that actually owns its pitch, so we’re very lucky, but it has come to the stage where we have to make the decision to either replace the pitch or spend £3,000 a year for repairs.”

The pitches at Ely City Hockey Club are played on for up to 40 hours a week - but players young and old may have to find a new pitch to play on if the club's current surface cannot be replaced. PHOTO: Ely City Hockey ClubThe pitches at Ely City Hockey Club are played on for up to 40 hours a week - but players young and old may have to find a new pitch to play on if the club's current surface cannot be replaced. PHOTO: Ely City Hockey Club

The pitch, which was laid in 1993, is used almost every day by various clubs and organisations from across the city and is sometimes used for up to 40 hours a week.

The need for resurfacing was first identified back in 2007, but since then the club has struggled to find even a fraction of the funds needed to cover a replacement – with the cheapest pitch being quoted at an eye-watering £145,000.

“Ely is such a family-orientated club,” said chairman Gemma.

“I’ve played here all my life and captained the women’s first team. I think if anything were to happen to the club then I would cry.

“It engages the community so much and generations of hockey players have played here.”

The club is already in discussions with Sport England regarding possible funding, but is looking out into the community to raise the remainder of the much-needed cash, starting with an online Just Giving page.

“We’re open to any fundraising ideas,” said Gemma. “We’ve held events within the club but we need to reach out into the community.”

To donate, click here or for more information, contact Gemma on gemma.mott82@gmail.com.

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