Football fundraiser makes strides toward park restoration

The teams who took part in the charity match. Photograph: Iain Ferguson,

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The goal of opening up Kinlochleven’s Island Park for sports and community events has moved a few steps closer to target thanks to the fundraising efforts of village footballers.

Monday night regulars who play for fun at the village astroturf sported their team colours in a Celtic v Rangers – with a Hibs top and a few neutrals thrown in – supporters match to raise money for the restoration of the original grass pitch.

Island Park, on the Glencoe side of Kinlochleven, was once a popular and well-used area for a range of outdoor activities including gala days, fairs and several different sports. Despite this history, in recent years it has lain largely unused, gradually becoming becoming overgrown and forgotten.

But thanks to the efforts of the specially formed Island Park Community Field charity, plans are well under way to restore it to its former glory.

One of the charity’s first acquisitions is a sit-on mower. A shed to house it has also been built and quotes are being sought from specialist contractors to spike and drain the field, improving its condition and drainage.

Fundraising is vital to bring the field back to life and the recent football match has so far raised £1,169 which will help pay for specialised contractors to carry out this work and other things.

‘Celtic’, winners of the fixture by six goals to two, were presented with the Colin MacDougall cup, named in honour of the well-known and highly regarded villager, noted for encouraging children to look after the area. This was presented by his widow Lesley and the family to team captain Michael MacLean.

Man of the match was ‘Celtic’ team member Lewis Moran and the wining bid on the auction for a Celtic Football Club strip signed by squad players was made by Scott Dibsdale who picked up the shirt on the night.

Chairman of The Island Parks Community Field Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organaisation and organiser of the match Matthew Prosser said: ‘We had a fantastic response to the match from players and the many people who made donations, so thank you to all of them.

‘Highlife Highland was also a great help by donating the use of the astroturf on the night.

‘Island Park is coming along and a lot of work is being done by many people to make sure it is going to be in prime condition in future. It will be an ongoing process and we are applying for grants to ensure we can maintain it to a high standard.

‘It was a great, fun night and the boys really enjoyed playing. Hopefully we can make this a regular event, perhaps even featuring supporters from other teams as well.’