IT was a day to celebrate in Kirkby Stephen on Saturday when the new all weather pitch and floodlights were officially opened.

The facilities, which are located in the grounds of Kirkby Stephen Grammar School, replace the previous pitch was proved extremely successful but which had come to the end of its working life.

A fundraising campaign by a working group set up by Kirkby Stephen Community Sports Association have been tirelessly raising funds for the project for more than two years.

Funds came from the Garfield Weston Anniversary Fund, Eden District Council's signature fund, The National Hockey Foundation, and Kirkby Stephen Grammar School, but working group chair Andrea Dixon and secretary Claire Smithson explained that thanks were also due to the many local individuals, groups, charities, sports clubs, businesses and families who had contributed to the project's success.

And their efforts were rewarded on Saturday as a large crowd gathered to witness the official opening which began a day of celebration.

The opening ceremony preceded the first hockey game to be played on the new pitch which saw Kirkby Stephen's second team chalk up an 8-0 victory over Kendal's second team in a Cumbria League fixture.

That encounter was followed by Kendal's first team,which is coached by Janette McWhirter, taking on Neston, and they went down to a narrow 2-1 defeat in a hard fought fixture.