Work has begun on Hawick’s new £1 million pound 3G pitch, which it is hoped will help secure the future of rugby in the town.
The first sods were cut at Volunteer Park today (Tuesday, July 5) by Graeme Anderson of Hawick Linden and Morgan Tait of Hawick Wanderers.
Both of the clubs play at Volunteer Park and, as part of the Volunteer Park Sports Club group, have been key in co-ordinating and supporting delivery of the project along with Bill McLaren Park Ltd.
They have worked with Scottish Borders Council (SBC), which is also delivering and funding the project.
The new pitch is being built by Malcolm Construction and will be managed by Live Borders when it opens in autumn 2016 for local sports clubs and schools to use.
Councillor Vicky Davidson, SBC’s executive member for culture, sport, youth and communities said at the ceremony: “The Hawick 3G pitch project has been a great example of local sports clubs working alongside various public sector organisations to ensure a site was made available for what will be a first-class sports facility.
“We have to thank the Volunteer Park Sports Club, as well as Bill McLaren Park Ltd for getting this project off the ground.
“Sports clubs and school pupils across the town will benefit from the 3G pitch. It is an all year round playing surface, with floodlighting, which will allow a considerable increase in participation at all levels.
“You only need to look at how Galashiels has benefited from the Netherdale 3G Arena to see how such a facility can impact on participation - around 1,200 football and rugby players of all ages use that facility each week.”
Alan Stirling of the Volunteer Park Sports Club said: “The two rugby clubs Hawick Linden and Hawick Wanderers who form The Volunteer Park Sports Club were extremely happy to work along with Bill McLaren Park Ltd as well as SBC and Live Borders to help bring the 3G pitch to the Volunteer Park.
“The 3G pitch will be a major factor in allowing the clubs to continue to attract players, both adult and junior, and will benefit the whole of the rugby playing community in Hawick and the wider area.”