THIRTY thousand pounds is needed to help keep Huntingdon s young footballers safe – and the town needs your help to raise the cash. Businesses in and around Huntingdon are to be asked to help make up the shortfall in the cost of building a new footpath to

THIRTY thousand pounds is needed to help keep Huntingdon's young footballers safe - and the town needs your help to raise the cash.

Businesses in and around Huntingdon are to be asked to help make up the shortfall in the cost of building a new footpath to the playing fields at Jubilee Park.

The path will be used by thousands of young people every year.

Fundraisers are more than half-way towards the estimated £67,000 footpath that would link a new £400,000 light-controlled junction of the A141 and Kings Ripton Road with the football pitches.

But they are looking to local companies whose customers will use the new path to contribute towards the £30,000 shortfall.

The junction itself will be paid for by £250,000 from Cambridgeshire County Council and £75,000 from each of Huntingdonshire District Council and Huntingdon Town Council.

It became a priority after the death in May 2007 of 16-year-old football fan Warren Hay as he crossed the bypass on his way to watch a match at Jubilee Park. The scheme, on which construction work is due to start shortly, will address not just the pedestrian safety issue but a record of less serious accidents involving right-turns into and out of Kings Ripton Road.

But there is currently no path between the junction and Jubilee Park, home of Huntingdon Town FC, which is building a new £1million-plus clubhouse there, and Huntingdon Rowdies' many youth teams.

The FA has promised £20,000 towards the footpath, according to County Councillor Mac McGuire. In addition, the Warren Hay Road Safety Action Group, spearheaded by Warren's mother Maxine Hay, has raised £12,000 with the help of The Hunts Post, and landowner Lord de Ramsey has agreed to provide land for the path and build the Jubilee Park end of it, Cllr McGuire said.

"There's no more council money for this," Cllr McGuire added. "And time is of the essence. If we can't do the traffic regulation orders and construction work as a package with the junction, while people are on site, the cost will go up."

Mrs Hay, who lives in Alconbury, told The Hunts Post: "We're almost there. We just need one final financial push to make this project happen. It would be such a shame if we could not complete the whole scheme and had to leave the youngsters short."

Mrs Hay said she would welcome contributions from anyone - businesses or individuals taking part in fundraising activities.

"The support the Warren Hay Action Group has received from people in Huntingdonshire has been overwhelming and we are very grateful to everyone for their backing. It will be a very emotional experience when the project is complete and safe access is provided to Jubilee Park."

The search for corporate contributions is in the hands of County Councillor Laine Kadic, who is also leader of Huntingdon Town Council. She has already arranged a meeting with Tesco, which agreed in principle to a contribution a year ago, and hopes to meet other traders at Abbots Ripton Road and Towerfields, for which the playing fields were originally planned.

The reason the playing fields were built at Jubilee Park was a land-swap by Huntingdon Town Council that freed up Towerfields for commercial development.

INFORMATION: Companies or individuals wishing to offer contributions to the footpath scheme should write to: The Editor, The Hunts Post, 30 High Street, Huntingdon PE29 3TB, telephone 01480 411481 or e-mail editor@huntspost.co.uk