Ottery St Mary Football Club thanks mystery donor for gifting it £17,500 to replace vital floodlights

Ottery St Mary AFC chairman Mike Ringer points to the floodlights that will soon be replaced. Ref sh

Ottery St Mary AFC chairman Mike Ringer points to the floodlights that will soon be replaced. Ref shs 48 17TI 4043. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

‘Gobsmacked’ bosses at Ottery Football Club have thanked a mystery donor who gifted the Washbrook Meadows outfit £17,500 to replace its vital floodlights.

The generous benefactor, who wants to remain anonymous, came forward after the club launched a £20,000 appeal.

Floodlights on the main pitch, which desperately need to be replaced after 31 years, are crucial to the financial wellbeing and future of the club.

The Otters have netted the remaining funds through events, fundraising and public support.

Success for the project means Washbrook Meadows can continue to host prestige cup finals that are key to its income.

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Men’s and ladies’ sides and the club’s youth section can also keep on using the facilities all year round – especially for evening matches.

Club chairman Mike Ringer described the development as ‘massive’. He said he was ‘over the moon and gobsmacked’ by the mystery benefactor’s amazing offer.

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“The biggest benefit is that we will have brand-new floodlights and floodlights that work,” said Mr Ringer.

“Revenue-wise, it will mean at least £5,000 a year from matchdays.”

The club aims to complete the work in January.

Mr Ringer said of the £17,500 donation: “We put the appeal out to local businesses and one of them and said, ‘Here you go’. We can’t say who they are because they do not want any recognition.

“It’s not anyone from the town, but is someone who was connected to the club many years ago and it is a massive, multinational company.

“We’re absolutely over the moon and gobsmacked.

“In terms of what we’re trying to work towards, this is a massive shot in the arm - everyone is buzzing. This is the catalyst to build the foundations for the next five, 10 years.”

The club has also expressed its gratitude to Councillor Claire Wright after it was awarded £5,000 from her Devon County Council locality budget.

This will be used to upgrade the front pitch at Washbrook Meadows, which is utilised for training by all age groups, and its floodlights.

The main pitch has been designated as a night-time landing site for Devon Air Ambulance and work has taken place so crews can switch on the floodlights remotely.

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