A local businessman has been hailed a community champion after his amazing gesture to a local GAA club.
Clan na Gael officially opened their new £600k club house this week with top brass from the GAA and government representatives attending.
Also attending were five members of the MacRory Cup winning team who play for Clan na Gael.
After just six months building and decorating the state-of-the art clubhouse - one of the last things to buy were blinds for the windows.
Jim Calder Blinds from Derryadd gave a quote but the club were pleasantly shocked when he gave them his final bill.
On the Clans Facebook page they said: “Jim obviously had no connections with the GAA and wasn’t sure where Davitt Park was.
“When he came to measure he asked lots of questions as to what we were about and was very interested in the underage and youth structures at the Clans. He then came back with his price for blinds for the new building – £0. He wished us luck and asked us to keep encouraging the youth of the area to play games and stay on the right path. The committee of Clan na Gael would like to say a huge thank you to Jim. A nice gesture indeed.”
And it is all going great for the club - which has 90 years of history behind it at Francis Street.
Overseen and project managed by Greg Seeley, a consultant engineer, and built by Russell Brothers, the two storey clubhouse boasts two full size, disabled-friendly changing rooms with showers.
There is even a separate changing room with showers for visiting referees. Upstairs, which is accessible via a lift, there is a well-fitted kitchen and function room with a superb panoramic viewing gallery over the pitch. A new committee room plus office space and plenty of storage facilities finishes off this splendid new building.
The club hopes to be able to cater for parties and group functions as well as for visiting teams. “We are looking at catering for all our members and the wider community,” said Joe Lavery, who is on the Clan na Gael committee.
He explained that the club received £500k from the Department of Social Development - now the Department for Communities. “We had to match-fund it ourselves to help pay for professional fees and other outlays,” said Joe. He said the community rallied round and the club sold ‘bricks’ to help pay for some of the work. “We sold well over 300 bricks,” he said, adding that they will be placed on the foyer wall.