Proud day as Stafford Rugby Club unveils new multi-million stadium
There were smiles all around as a rugby club unveiled its new stadium which has been 30 years in the making.
Proud Stafford Rugby Club members were beaming as they attended the unveiling of the stadium on Blackberry Lane, Stafford, which has cost millions of pounds to build.
Club president David Ainge said: "It is fantastic to see the stadium open today. We broke ground 18-months-ago but this has been 30 years in the making.
"I was one of the first involved in the negotiations 30 years ago with Lord Stafford.
"There has been frustration's, some difficulties, but we have overcome it with the help of lots of people, especially the developers and the designers.
"As you can see, it is a fantastic facility. It is something to be proud of. I don't think there is many rugby facilities of this standard in the Midlands.
The land is owned by Lord Stafford, Francis Fitzherbert. He also owned the land of the club's previous stadium in Castlefields.
Among the brand new facilities includes four playing pitches, a large suite, a public bar, gymnasium, a home team dressing room and an away dressing room.
The main corridor through the building is lined with rugby shirts from past players. Shirts range from Gloucester to representing the armed services.
Hanging on a high over the main entrance is a large painting of Twickenham, which was gifted to the club by the stadium.
The design of the stadium has incorporated splashes of golden yellow and black in places, which is a nod to the club's playing colours.
The new stadium has allowed the club to develop more teams.
"Not just senior, it means a lot for junior rugby," he said. "We have a junior section of 300 children plus. We have also started a group of young ladies, under 18s, which we call Stafford Rose. We have got 79 members at the moment, which I think is the second highest in Staffordshire, and we only started 18 months ago.
"Recently in the last two weeks, we have resurrected the ladies team. So it is thriving. The important part, as well as rugby, is we are in the middle of the community.
"And we are working with them to use the facilities. They can use them. they can become social members. Obviously we will be looking to increase playing membership.
"Everything is geared for development on and off the pitch. That is what we want to do."