Former Flegg High School pupil Ryan Bennett opens new football hub

Flegg High School principal Simon Fox, Sarah Quantrill, Ryan Bennett, John Ruddy and Norfolk FA chai

Flegg High School principal Simon Fox, Sarah Quantrill, Ryan Bennett, John Ruddy and Norfolk FA chairman Michael Banham, with pupils at the opening of the school's new football hub - Credit: Archant

A familiar face was on hand to cut to ribbon of a new football pitch at Flegg High School on Wednesday.

Norwich City defender Ryan Bennett returned to his former school in Martham, as it held a grand opening for its new 3G football facility.

He was joined by team-mate John Ruddy and Millwall Lioness Sarah Quantrill in celebrating the £700,000 project, which was made possible by a £405,446 grant from the Premier League and FA Facilities Fund.

“I would have given anything to have a facility like this when I came here,” Bennett said. “We used to have to either play on concrete, or an old pitch with barely any grass so it would have been unbelievable to have.

“The school has always had very talented footballers and I’m sure that is still the case now, and this will be brilliant for them.

“The school is very different to how it was when I was a pupil. A lot has changed and it is definitely for the better.”

Goalkeeper Ruddy added: “The pitch is fantastic and a massive boost, not only to the school, but to the surrounding area.

Most Read

“Having access to a place like this is extremely important for youngsters, so to have it on their doorstep is great.”

Quantrill said: “I grew up in Long Stratton and at the time there was nothing like this anywhere near me. Whenever it rained at school we used to have to do PE indoors, but this will allow pupils to play football whatever the weather, which is brilliant.”

The facility also includes a new changing room and pavilion.

Simon Fox, school principal, said: “The whole point of the facility is to build passion and excitement about football and will be a great addition to the local area.

“It means masses to the children at the school that they now have this nearby, when previously they may have had to go all the way to Norwich for something like it.”

The site is Norfolk FA’s third Football Development Centre in the county.