Government, Gorham’s Ltd. & Western Stars Sports Club Partnership Ground Breaking
Good morning and welcome to St. John’s Field, home of the Western Stars Sports Club more commonly known as Dandy Town.
I’m delighted to be joined today by the Premier of Bermuda, the Honourable E. David Burt, MP for the area – MP Michael Weeks both members of Dandy Town, Mr. Andrew Mackay General Manager of Gorham’s Limited, and other Gorham’s representatives Mr. Rod Ferguson, Mr. Kirk Kitson and Mr. Henry Durham,.
Mr. Devar Boyles, President, Wayne Campbell, Vice President and Mrs. Shawnette Perott –Secretary and Ms. Joanna Darrell Management Committee member of Western Stars Sports Club.
Western Stars Sports Club has been a permanent part of the Pembroke West community for a number of years. Gorham’s too has been a part of this community for more than 80 years. They share adjoining properties – so it makes sense for them to be good neighbours to each other – and I think it’s fair to say they are.
Western Stars have occupied this site since the early 1970’s and have faced several challenges during that time. For many years St. Johns Field has been plagued with uneven grounds leading to frequent flooding. As a result, the club has experienced occasions when the field has been unusable for training, community events or recreational activities.
The clubhouse, also erected in the 1970’s is in dire need of refurbishment to assist the club in catering to its ever expanding community programmes. Those include senior, junior and pee wee football and cricket programmes for both boys and girls. In fact, the former financial secretary, the late Mr. Anthony Manders, was one of the many outstanding athletes coming out of this club.
With that background – it was an easy decision for me to make, when Gorham’s first wrote in December 2018 to propose an arrangement that would benefit both their business and Western Stars.
Simply stated, Gorham’s want access to an unused, densely overgrown strip of Government owned land to the west of their property for a new roadway to connect
the front and back areas of the property. In exchange for which they would provide significant support and upgrades to the field and club operations.
So much work has occurred since that first announcement here on October 30th, 2019 and so we are here today to conduct the ceremonial ground breaking. This is the start of the field work as discussions are continuing about the plans for the building.
Mobilization will start today with the aim of starting construction on the 1st of March. Construction will take approximately 9 months after which the grass seeding of the field will follow. It is anticipated that it will take roughly a year for the grass to grow sufficiently for use. In total therefore, we are looking at about two years from start to finish.
To say that we are delighted with this arrangement would be an understatement – it is a testament to working collaboratively together – in the spirit that Gorham’s are well known for as an outstanding corporate citizen. Likewise, Western Stars are well known for their unwavering commitment to the Pembroke West community.
I would like to thank Gorham’s for their support of this initiative and Western Stars for their willingness to work with Gorham’s to make these improvements to the club premises. I am certain that these improvements will be welcomed by the community and be of benefit to the programmes that will be conducted from here.
I’m now pleased to hand over to the Premier who will be followed by a representative of Gorham’s and then the President of Western Stars.