COMMUNITY groups across Sefton have come together to restore a once popular running track on Rimrose Valley Country Park.
Schools, athletics clubs and individuals all took advantage of the facility known locally as ‘Chaffers’, before it fell into disrepair. After hearing about efforts being made to reinstate the track, local runner, Chris Murphy, introduced park charity Rimrose Valley Friends and the Rimrose Runners club to John Carragher. Jamie Carragher’s brother, John, is a founding member of Marsh Lane Harriers running club and is connected to the 23 Foundation who have stepped in with an offer to fund and deliver the project.
The joint venture between Rimrose Valley Friends and Marsh Lane Harriers required plans and applications to be submitted to Sefton Council. These have now been approved and a two-year license has been granted to restore and use the track. Work is expected to begin in the very near future.
Speaking on behalf of Rimrose Valley Friends, trustee Linda Gaskell said: “We’re so excited about this project and are hugely grateful to Marsh Lane Harriers and the 23 Foundation for helping to make this happen. Everyone involved is aware of the threat of Highways England’s road. The fact that the foundation has decided to support this anyway and Sefton Council has given the go ahead is a huge statement of intent and shows how we are planning for the long-term future of Rimrose Valley as a vital community asset.”
Co-leader of Rimrose Runners and fellow Rimrose Valley Friends Trustee, Sarah Edey added:
“This is fantastic news not only for local running clubs like our own, but the whole community. We will obviously continue to use the rest of Rimrose Valley for our longer trail runs which take in the amazing scenery and nature it has to offer.”
John Carragher, who is coordinating the work and a founding member of Marsh Lane Harriers explained: “As soon as we heard that efforts were being made to restore a sports facility the whole community can use to keep fit, we knew it was something we wanted to be involved in. We’re really excited and can’t wait to get started.”
The news has been warmly welcomed by other local running groups. Dennis Gill, a former coach of Southport Waterloo Athletics Club, who campaigned to keep the original track, is particularly pleased at the announcement. He said:
“When I’ve been past the track in recent years it’s been really sad to see it deteriorate to the extent that you can no longer tell it was there, so it’s absolutely fantastic that it’s being revived in this way.
“In its heyday the track was home to hundreds of kids and other athletes, but it was also popular with the local community and there were always runners using it for their own training. It would be great to see that happening again.”
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