AN amateur rugby club whose home was destroyed by fire has vowed to rise from the ashes after swiftly securing a new playing headquarters.
But Pilkington Recs have admitted they will also need help from the community as they strive to replace up to £6,000 of kit, balls and other equipment that were damaged beyond repair.
The club has moved swiftly to agree a deal with the new owners of Ruskin Leisure and St Helens Council to play their open age and junior matches at the Ruskin Drive sportsground next season.
Billy Dillon, Recs’ secretary, said: “To see City Road destroyed in that way was heartbreaking. But we held very positive talks and thankfully have managed to secure a new playing base.
“We need to look forward to a bright future at Ruskin. We want to reassure all our players and parents of the juniors that we will remain strong.
“The two pitches remain unaffected at City Road and we will continue to train there over the next 12 months and hope to install a temporary changing facility.
“For the longer term we will be seeking a permanent training base and we will be holding a series of fundraisers to help replace the equipment we have lost.
“The messages of support from across St Helens and the sporting community have been heartening.”
Ruskinvest, a consortium of local businessmen that recently bought Ruskin Leisure promised Recs they will be part of an exciting future at the Dentons Green-based sports ground.
Paul Rees, of Ruskinvest, said: “We have looked at our facilities and we have been able to work with St Helens Council to accommodate the club’s matches next season.
“Initially, we are helping Pilks Recs out of a hole, but this is all part of the bigger strategy for us.
“We will be working very closely with the council and every one of the sports clubs at Ruskin to create a masterplan for the site.
“This includes offering resources for sports development, applications for funding, and fundraising events. In Pilks Recs’ case we have offered to help them organise their sportsmans’ dinner in August.
“We see ourselves as having a crucial role in sports development and the council themselves are very keen to make Ruskin a flagship facility in the North West. We are fully behind them in that.”
The long-term home of the Recs has been the subject of much discussion since the property arm of glass giants Pilkington Ltd announced its intention to sell the land for housing six years ago.
The Windle City Social Club closed in 2007 but, with the land not selling to developers during the economic slump, the changing rooms had remained the rugby teams’ base.