Landmark Great Yarmouth sports ground receives £1m funding

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A first glimpse at what the new floodlit 9v9 3G artificial grass football pitch will look like at the Wellesley Recreation Ground in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Almost £1m is being injected into a Great Yarmouth landmark site which has been home to many of the town's biggest sporting events.

The 1951 Great Yarmouth squad and club officials at Wellesley Road

The 1951 Great Yarmouth squad and club officials at the Wellesley Recreation Ground. - Credit: Archant

The Wellesley Recreation Ground, which is home to what is considered to be the oldest football stand still in use in Britain, is receiving £972,078 from organisations such as the government's Football Foundation, the Premier League and Great Yarmouth Borough Council to improve grassroots facilities.

This comes as Great Yarmouth Football Club, which uses the site as its home ground, celebrates its 125th anniversary.

Wellesley football ground in Great Yarmouth, home to what is thought to be the oldest wooden stand i

Wellesley Recreation Ground in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Great Yarmouth Borough Council

The Wellesley is also used by Great Yarmouth Athletics Club and the wider community, including last year's Football Against Dementia match which saw former players from Norwich City compete against NHS workers.

The NCFC legends v NHS staff match taking place in memory of Mike Sutton at Wellesley Recreation Gro

The NCFC legends v NHS staff match taking place in memory of Mike Sutton at Wellesley Recreation Ground in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Danielle Booden

In the past the ground has also been used as the venue for celebrity summer sporting appearances, such as a cricket match starring national comedy legends Morecambe and Wise.

The funding will see the construction of a floodlit 9v9 3G artificial grass football pitch and renovation works to the Grade II listed tennis pavilion building, bringing it back into use by providing changing and meeting facilities to support the new pitch. 

Renovations are being made to the Grade II listed Tennis Pavilion at the Wellesley Recreation Gorund.

Renovations are being made to the Grade II listed Tennis Pavilion at the Wellesley Recreation Ground. - Credit: Great Yarmouth Borough Council

The works are expected to begin in September and are anticipated to be finished by the beginning of 2023.

Emma Flaxman-Taylor, chair of the borough council's housing and neighbourhood committee, said: "This is another fantastic milestone in our plan to improve the leisure and sports facilities at the Wellesley for our residents, community groups and visitors."

Ernie Wise bowls during a charity match on the Wellesley between a local XI and showbiz members from

Ernie Wise bowls during a charity match on the Wellesley between a local XI and showbiz members from Yarmouth summer shows in the Sixties. - Credit: Archant

Robert Sullivan, chief executive of the Football Foundation, said: "This grant award to Wellesley Recreation Ground towards developing a new 3G pitch and renovations to the changing pavilion is great news for the local community.

"It will support people’s ability to play our national game locally and therefore help unlock football’s many benefits to physical and mental wellbeing. That’s why we’re committed to transforming the face of grassroots football facilities in this country.

Eric Morecambe in full flow at a charity cricket match when they were appearing at Great Yarmouth.

Eric Morecambe in full flow at a charity cricket match when they were appearing at Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Archant

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"The Football Foundation is working closely with our partners – the Premier League, The FA, government and Sport England – to support facility development projects like this across the country over the next decade to transform our grassroots game and unlock the power of pitches."