A SPECIAL event was held on Saturday for the official opening of the extended Adrian Grayson Function Room at Bedale Sports Club and Community Centre.

Speaking at the event, chairman Martyn Coombs thanked Richmond MP and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the government for the Covid Recovery grants, delivered through local councils, saying: "Without these recovery grants and rate holidays, this association would not be here."

Mr Coombs welcomed RAF Leeming station commander Group Captain Gareth Prendergast and highlighted the excellent way RAF personnel have integrated so well into the local community. The RAF Leeming football team play their home games at the Heck Stadium and 34 Squadron held their bi-annual football game two weeks ago. To cement the relationship, there is now a painted RAF emblem in the front wall of the new extension.

Mr Coombs thanked Colin Tipton, the prime motivator for the extension, Mike Barningham for drawing the plans, Maurice Cann for submitting the plans and Nicky Ruddock for signposting the committee to all the grant agencies and for submitting some of the larger bids. Thank yous were all given to Cllr John Weighell, Cllrs John Howe and Andy Hallet, Althea Draper for her hard work helping to secure a Making A Difference grant, Tracy Hughes from Broadacres Community Development Fund, Judi Askquith from the Rector Four and Twenty Fund, the Jack Brunton Trust and the Darlington Building Society for their financial support. Final thanks went to Sheila Tipton and all the management committee for their drive and commitment.

Special praise was given to all the local businesses which donated rewards for the Crowdfunding Appeal and those individuals who "bought" a reward so that once the £10,000 target was reached, Sport England match funded an additional £10,000.

Work on the Adrian Grayson Function Room extension started in February and was completed by May, with Mr Coombs thanking Heath Johns of Crakehall Builders, Mark Donaghy for the carpentry, Martin Fell of Infinity Electrical, Anthony Harding Smith for the decorating and Mike and Lee Tinkler of Absolute Floor Restoration.

Grp Capt Prendergast spoke about the partnership that RAF Leeming has with Bedale and the wider community and how pleased he was to be invited to perform the opening ceremony. He congratulated everyone on their hard work in making the Adrian Grayson Function Room a special place in the community.