TOM SIMMS’ AMAZING GIFT TO HIS BELOVED RUGBY CLUB: Carrickfergus Rugby Club Officially Opened On Sat 3rd September 2011: Includes Report / Pictures & InTouch TV Interview with President Gerry Simms

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Carrickfergus Rugby Football Club (CRFC) officially opened their refurbished clubhouse and grounds as the Tom Simms Memorial Park on 3 September.

Carrickfergus is one of the oldest rugby clubs in Ireland, having been established in 1865. The Club’s refurbishment and extension was made possible thanks to the incredible generosity of the late Tom Simms, a local businessman and entrepreneur and life-long Club member who passed away aged 80 on 2 May 2010.

A true ‘Clubman’, Tom played rugby at every level for the club, served on a number of committees and was a generous sponsor over the years.

Before he died Tom decided to donate a substantial sum of money to enable the club to build for the future and had wanted a modern and welcoming clubhouse, one that would encourage members and guests to stay and use the facilities.

Carrickfergus Rugby Club have produced an official opening brochure which can be downloaded HERE

The official reopening of the Club was marked by the unveiling of a plaque in memory of Tom after whom the grounds were renamed, followed by a lunch before a local derby game between Carrickfergus and Larne.

At the official opening ceremony Gerry Simms, CRFC President stated:

“Tom’s legacy has enabled a total transformation of our club and we will always be indebted to him for his generous donation. We believe that the premises we now have at the newly named Tom Simms Memorial Park would make him very proud.”

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The new and improved facilities include:

. Extended and fully refitted clubhouse
. Remodelled bar and lounge areas
. New accessible toilet facilities
. Extended function room
. Restaurant facilities
. Meeting room
. Outside terracing
. Refurbished changing facilities
. Revitalised pitches
. New training lights
. Extended car park
. Security fencing
. Hard landscaping

Carrickfergus Rugby Football Club (CRFC), established 1865, is one of the oldest Junior Clubs in Ireland. It provides significant sports opportunities to over 300 members. There are seven adult teams, including a Ladies XV, that compete at all levels of the game – male U17, U15, U13 teams and a developing U16 ladies team. There are over 150 children in the Mini and Maxi sections of the club.

CRFC has encountered many historic moments since its formation in 1865 – the purchase of Woodlawn in 1955, the opening of the Social Centre in 1971 and the installation of floodlights in 1989.

CRFC is home to the annual Carrick Sevens, one of the largest tournaments in Ireland. The Carrick Sevens celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2012. Every year the club plays host to over 50 teams, male and female, from Ireland, the UK and mainland Europe.

CRFC recently successfully completed a 13 month Rugby Outreach Programme (CROP) funded by PEACE III through the CAN Partnership.

CRFC has built long-term good relations with the local community, local businesses and council. There is a strong sense of community and the club actively promotes family involvement with parents running fund raising events with players and supporters.

The CRFC catchment area contains a number of deprived wards and our members come from all sections of the local community and beyond.

CRFC know it is essential that the interest shown by local young people can be harnessed and developed through access to adequate facilities, coaching and activity programming, thus sustaining the sport and physical activity in the Club and wider community area, as well as the long term associated health benefits of sporting and physical activity participation. CRFC aims to be a leading hub for local community sport and recreational activity in the local area.

As a forward thinking and ambitious club, one of CRFC’s goals is to compete at Senior All Ireland League level. It is the development of the club’s youth structure which will largely facilitate the enhancement of performance sport over the longer term. This element of the clubs provision will provide talent of the future, having progressed through the CRFC system. The Club aspires to significantly develop its service, not only to members and the sports specific provision, but to the wider community and non sports specific provision.

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