VILLAGE sports officials are celebrating after securing £50,000 to improve dilapidated facilities.

It was third time lucky for trustees of the Miners' Welfare ground, in Etherley, near Bishop Auckland, after two previous bids to Sport England had been rejected.

The money, from the agency's Inspired Facilities Olympic legacy fund, will be used to rebuild 100-year-old changing rooms which had reached the end of their useful lives.

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The ground boasts a cricket pitch, a football pitch which is not currently in a good enough condition to be used, and an all-weather games area with tennis and basketball facilities.

There is also a tea room and a social club at the ground.

The cricket pitch is home to Etherley CC Juniors, which runs three teams, and King James CC, who play in the Darlington and District League.

After a two-year absence Etherley CC is also relaunching a senior side this season which will play friendly matches.

Trustee David Dinsdale said: “People assumed it was just for the cricket club, but it is there for everyone. It is a case of getting the place back into use.”

Mr Dinsdale said trustees were currently trying to attract funding to reinstate the football pitch which, if successful, would become the base for Escomb Juniors FC.

Fellow trustee John Raw added: “Some of the wood is rotten and when it rains, water comes through in several places - so much so that we have had to turn off the electrics to the building.

“This funding is great news for our little club, however, there is still a long road ahead as we bid to drain the football field to bring that back into use for our community.”