Rugby stars past and present joined forces at the weekend to unveil what has been hailed as one of the best community facilities in Scotland.
Legendary Scotland prop Dave Rollo , now 82, was joined by fellow internationalists – and former Bell Baxter pupils – Fergus Thomson, Chris Fusaro and Peter Horne on Sunday to officially open the new £1.25 million Howe of Fife pavilion at Duffus Park.
All four played for Howe of Fife Rugby Club before going on to achieve international recognition.
The new building began to take shape some five years ago when it was decided that members needed facilities that were fit for the 21st century.
This included capacity to cope with two senior mens teams, the ladies team – Howe Harlequins – and a full slate of mini and midi teams.
The new facility –which occupies the site of the old pavilion – is also intended for use by the wider community.
Funding towards the project came from the Scottish Rugby Club Sustainability Fund to the tune of £60,000, with a further £370,000 from sportscotland.
Contributions also came from local trusts and individuals, with the rest from fund-raising.
All the major funders will be invited to a second opening ceremony next month, when a plaque will be unveiled.
A community open day is also planned at which neighbouring sports clubs and organisations in the area can see the new facilities.
In addition, the Club has now has a business development manager, Cheryl King, who’s keen to meet local groups and show them around the new premises.
North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins described the project as ‘absolutely outstanding.’
He said: “This must be one of the best facilities in the country, not just for a rugby club but amongst other sports clubs too.
“What the Howe of Fife has achieved here is absolutely outstanding and I would like to congratulate them on creating a real hub which is not only for club members but also one which welcomes the wider community.
“I know the process was not easy and involved a lot of hard work and determination but the end result is a massive credit to everyone involved.
“Not only will the new café provide a great, central point for people in the area, not just those playing or watching sport, the large, flexible function suite area is a great asset for the whole community. ”
Cheryl King said: “This has been a massive project for the club and the whole town and we know we are going to the envy of clubs everywhere. It is very important that this becomes a real community hub and that people feel welcome here.”