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New £400,000 clubhouse to be opened at Lovat Shinty Club

By David Calder

Lovat will mark the opening with a match against Beauly. Picture: Donald Cameron
Lovat will mark the opening with a match against Beauly. Picture: Donald Cameron

LOVAT Shinty Club is set to unveil its £400,000 community sports pavillion in Kiltarlity on Saturday

The new pavillion includes four changing rooms, a function room, a large kitchen area and a treatment room that can be used by local services such as the local GP.

Club chairman John MacRitchie said it was the culmination of five years of hard work and an extraordinary effort by the club and the community.

“When the plans and the costings started coming together the scale of the project and the sums of money involved were quite daunting but there was pretty well unanimous agreement that it was what the club needed.

“What we have now is one of the best facilities in the sport and with the new season starting next week these are exciting times at Balgate. My hope is that it will help to inspire the younger generation and encourage more people to get involved with the club”.

MacRitchie is fulsome in his praise for the fund raising effort which achieved the financial target.

He said “Club volunteers have raised over £100,000 which is a marvellous effort from a relatively small community. At times I was doubtful that we would ever reach our target but we persevered and once we got momentum the target came closer and closer”.

While community involvement was important the contribution from the funding bodies proved to be crucial. The support came from ,Sportscotland.The Leader Project, The Highland Council, The Robertson Trust, Garfield Weston, The Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation, Ann Gloag and local businessman Iain Stewart.

The club’s existing facility will be converted into a store.

MacRitchie said: “We were reluctant to demolish the old building - it has been there since the eighties and has served us well. It was built, brick by brick, by club volunteers so there is a big emotional attachment to it”.

Lord Lovat the Club chieftain will cut the ribbon ahead of an invitational match against age-old local rivals Beauly.

The opening ceremony is scheduled for 1:00 pm with the main event on the pitch starting at 1:30 pm.

Earlier in the day there is mini tournament for children featuring some of the local clubs before a challenge match between the ladies teams of Lovat and Inverness takes place.

The main match is preceded by a clash between Lovat reserves and Caberfeidh reserves. That match is scheduled to throw-up at noon.

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