LEADERS of the 1066 Specials Football Club reported an "excellent" year at their AGM on Saturday, April 4. Around 100 people attended the meeting in Bexhill College sports hall, at which young players were presented with awards, and exciting plans for a state-of-the-art sports complex for disabled people were aired.
Harold Lawrence, chairman of the board of trustees, said a verbal agreement of £5m funding had been reached with a private sponsor.
The forthcoming Pebsham Countryside Park was discussed as a possible location.
A positive account of the year's fundraising activity was given by the treasurer, before Colin Taylor, chairman of the specials, said: "It's been a very good year for this football club. A lot of effort has been put in by a lot of people."
He particularly thanked the coaches for their efforts, saying: "Without them, these young people wouldn't be playing football today."
Events mentioned included Sir Paul McCartney agreeing to become a patron of the club, and donations made by local comedian Eddie Izzard.
Trophies were presented to the players and those involved with the club by Mayor of Bexhill Patrick Douart.
Mayor Douart said: "I think this is wonderful. This club does excellent community work and I am very proud to be giving these young people awards today."
Local MP Greg Barker presented a cup for "Volunteer of the Year".
Mr Lawrence then spoke about his hopes for a disabled sports centre.
He said: "I have had this belief for some time now that people in this town who are disabled deserve more than they get.
"It's important that we try to get the best for them.
"We have met someone who said if you can find the land, I'll find the money.
"If we can get this site, it would certainly be the first of it's kind in the UK. It would reduce unemployment and bring business and tourism to the town.
"I feel with a passion we should be moving forward in this area. These young people could be the start of something, if we can get others to share our vision."
Guest of honour was the Observer's ex-deputy editor John Dowling, who was given a silver tankard for his support of the Specials.
Also present were Cllr Deidre Williams, President of Bexhill Rotary Club Richard Harrison, Lions President David Burstow and Derek Stevens, Chief Executive of Rother District Council.
For more information on the Specials visit www.1066specials.org.uk
Rye & Battle Observer, 7th April 2009