Senior officials from the Rugby Football Union (RFU) praised the progress of a fundraising campaign at Saffron Walden Rugby Club during a visit.

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The RFU has supported a major improvement drive at the club with a £7,500 grant to help replace windows overlooking the pitch at the Henham ground.

The grant, made under the RFU’s Social Spaces initiative, was matched pound-for-pound from the club’s fundraising efforts under its Fifty50 campaign which aims to raise £50,000 as it celebrates 50 seasons of rugby.

Andrew Sarek, who represents the eastern counties at the RFU, said: “We have been very impressed with the ambition of Saffron Walden to raise such a large amount of money to continue its growth and success and delighted the RFU has been able to support the efforts with a grant.

“It was great to have the opportunity to visit the club and to see for ourselves how the Fifty50 campaign has captured the imagination of the whole club, players, supporters and community.”

Club chairman Ian McKernan said the investment in replacing the 1960s windows had made a significant difference.

“The new windows let in much more light into the clubhouse and also provide a better view of the action on the pitch for those who don’t want to brave the elements,” he added.

The RFU’s Social Spaces programme offers grants of up to £7,500 for projects that transform club social spaces with the aim of restoring rugby clubs to the heart of their local communities.

The Saffron Walden club recently announced it had reached the halfway point in its Fifty50 campaign. Players, relatives and supporters have staged a host of events and challenges in support of the campaign to improve facilities.

A Beer Festival and the Past and Present Rugby Club Ball were among the successful club-wide events.

For more information on the progress of the fundraising campaign visit www.swrfc.co.uk or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Saffronwaldenrugbyfifty50

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