By JIM TAIT
THE SPORTS people of Bressay could have their first proper pitch to play on by 2010, if current plans achieve fruition.
The proposed site is behind the council houses at Fullaburn, on land owned by Shetland Islands Council and the Church of Scotland. Both organisations have agreed to sell their part of the area and preliminary plans have now been drawn up.
Phase one of the project will include the pitch, access road and parking area, while phase two would incorporate toilets and changing rooms.
The idea is the brainchild of Bressay Sports Club, a voluntary group set up in May 2003. The primary aim was to provide a grass pitch, the main beneficiaries of which would be the island’s children who lack a proper
surface to play football and other sports.
Spokesman Kenny Groat said it was felt that most other areas in Shetland had easy access to pitches nowadays, and Bressay was considered to be lacking in the provision of such a basic amenity.
Community use of the area would be encouraged, he said. Bressay School would be able to use the pitch for sports days and activities, as well as hosting visiting schools. The park could also be used for show purposes with craft marquees, etc.
There was also the possibility of Bressay helping out if Lerwick was to lose one of the town’s grass parks, especially with the ongoing campaign for an artificial surface for hockey.
“The size of the park would allow all sports to be played on it,” Mr Groat said. “There has been interest shown from football teams outwith Bressay for training as well as playing and we hope we can have their support for the project in the months ahead.”
In the late 1980s Bressay had its own football team which regularly competed in the Shetland Works League, of which Mr Groat was a stalwart. He said many hours of fun and enjoyment were had by all who took part.
There was also a rugby team called the Bressay Sharks which took part in the annual Lerwick Midsummer Sevens tournament.
In the early nineties the children of Bressay Primary School put together a team of mixed ages, and played teams in Lerwick as well as a similar mixed aged team from Sandwick.
Mr Groat said no final figure had been put on the project but fund-raising had been ongoing for some time.
“We would like to thank everyone so far who has helped in any way and hope we can continue to have the support from the local community as well as from outside the island to make the project a reality,” he said.
Taking a break from launching his Liberal Democrat leadership campaign this week, Tavish Scott added his weight to the project.
The MSP, whose spindly legs once ran around underneath a Bressay works league strip, even hinted at a possible comeback.
He said: “I strongly welcome the community’s desire to build a proper grass pitch in Bressay. I look forward to being part of the fund-raising efforts and playing on the field when it’s ready.”
If anyone would like further information or would like to help out in any way with the park they can contact Mr Groat by e-mail at email@example.com, phone him on 07748 215140 or write to him at: Lonabrak, Ham, Bressay, ZE2 9ER.