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Hanbury Park opened by F.A. Chief

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

Sussex Agricultural Express - Friday 22 August 1952.

Opening of Haywards Heath F.C.s New Ground

The opening of the football season in Sussex tomorrow (Saturday) will be marked by the visit to Haywards Heath of Sir Stanley Rous, secretary of the football Association. Sir Stanley will open the new Hanbury Park stadium, the home of Haywards Heath football club, at 2:15, by cutting a blue and white ribbon which will lie across the players entrance to the pitch.

Later, when Haywards Heath play Horsham in the metropolitan league, the teams will be presented to Sir Stanley. It will be Hayward Heath’s first season in the metropolitan League and, of which Horsham, old rivals of Haywards Heath in the Sussex county league, are champions.

The new stadium has been provided without any assistance from the rates. Footballers, supporters and officials having worked hard on the project and the public have been generous in providing financial support.

It is a fine example of what can be done by sportsmen who are prepared to help themselves, and it is confidently expected that the playing surface will be one of the finest in Sussex.

Sir Stanley Rous, Secretary of the F.A.

About £8000 has been spent on the scheme so far, and it is estimated that another 15,000 will be required to finish it. The F.A. made a £2000 loan at low interest rate.

The completion of the stadium, with stands and permanent changing rooms and terracing is a long-term policy, and it will take many years before the final shapers achieved.

However, the ground is there, there is adequate changing accommodation in a hut which has been converted and equipped with showers, and arrangements have been made for refreshments.

At Eastbourne

Sir Stanley Rous is no newcomer to Sussex. Before he became secretary of the F. A. in 1934, he was sports master at Watford Grammar School, and spent many holidays at Eastbourne, where he gave hundreds of children and physical exercises on the sands

Those expected to be at the opening include alderman C. D. Crisp, of Lewes is member of the F.A. council. Mr F. C. Wells(Secretary of the Sussex county F. A.), Mr A. H. Woolley (hon. Secretary of the Mid Sussex league) and representatives of the Metropolitan league and Brighton and Hove Albion.

Celebration Fete

To mark the opening of the new ground, a fete is being held in the afternoon, to be opened by Miss Helen Clare, of B. B. C. fame. Miss Clare will then judge the children's fancy dress competition, for which there will be eight prizes.

Horsham will bring about 1,500 supporters who will take part in the fete.

There will be many attractions and the awards include four cups. Included will be a donkey football match between Haywards Heath and Horsham. The official starter will be wing commander Geoffrey G. Braithwaite (President of the Wivelsfield donkey club)

There should be some big pulls in the tug-of-war competition. Teams are entered from the electricity board the gas board, the general post office, East Sussex Fire Brigade, East Sussex police, Saint Francis hospital (Haywards Heath), and the territorials. It is hoped British railways Will also compete.

The fete is expected to raise £500.

Haywards Heath F.C. will not forsake Victoria Park on which they have fought many a battle in the mud. Their third team and minors, who in the past have played more games away, will now use the old ground.

Sussex Agricultural Express - Friday 29 August 1952.


Sir Stanley Rous secretary Of the football Association on Saturday Opened Hanbury Park Stadium, the new home of Haywards Heath Football Club. About £8000 pounds has been spent on the Stadium which provides excellent dressing accommodation and the initial stages of terracing and foundations of a cinder running track. Sir Stanley assured his listeners–there were over 5000 people present–that the football Association would support the club in its efforts to make it one of the finest club grounds in Sussex.

A fete was held in connection with the opening, and a varied programme included children's athletic sports, children's fancy dress competition, a tug-of-war of local teams, a relay race, donkey gymkhana, floodlit dancing and a barbecue, and a fireworks display. The opening ceremony was performed by Miss Helen Clare, the B.B.C.vocalist and stage star, who also judged the fancy dresses. The relay race, open to Mid Sussex Football leagueTeams, was won by Bentswood United, Haywards Heath, and the tug-of-war by the East Sussex Fire Brigade, in which the Haywards Heath firemen competed.

There was also a football match In the Metropolitan League in which Haywards Heath was making its debut, between Haywards Heath and Horsham, last season's champions. A goalless draw resulted, a fitting result to a good game. The target of £500 was reached– a tribute to all concerned–especially Mr Herbert Clarke, the fete's Organiser and MC, and Mr L. W.Gascoigne and Mr Cyril Snell, who have been chairman and secretary of the new ground committee since the idea was first mooted in 1938.


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