A FORMER Barnsley FC striker who spearheaded an ambitious project to save a crumbling sports ground in the centre of Grimethorpe is set to mark its reopening’s first anniversary in style.

Bruce Dyer bagged 57 goals in 181 appearances during a five-year stint at Oakwell.

He agreed a 25-year lease to take over the once-ailing Miners’ Welfare Sports Ground, on Cemetery Road, and reopened it last August.

Bruce’s arrival in the village has seen it become a hive of sporting activity once again and the Love Life UK festival - organised by the 44-year-old’s charity - will take place on August 10, a year since its reopening.

A funfair, food stalls, live music and a seven-a-side football tournament have been announced.

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Bruce told the Chronicle: “I’m passionate about this project and I’m here for the long-term. The lease is for 25 years but I’d have signed a 50-year deal if it was available.

“I’ve had a fantastic response from the community and the festival will coincide with the reopening’s first anniversary.”

A host of improvement works have taken place at the site, which opened in 1905 and was a thriving sports hub home to football, cricket and rugby teams.

Football club Grimethorpe Sports, now known as Grimethorpe LLUK, were forced to move out when the ground’s previous tenant, Access to Sport, terminated its contract with the site’s owner, CISWO, but the team has since returned.

“It’s important we got not only the adults involved but also kids as they’re the future and hopefully they’ll use the ground in the decades to come,” Bruce added.

“The feedback has been really positive - everyone’s happy the ground is back in use for the long-term and there’s a lot in store to look forward to.

“The men’s team is back already and we’ll be forming a ladies-only one, as well as under-13 and under-12 teams.

“The ground has real history in the village and was once the hub of community activity - we’re on our way to achieving that but this time for generations to come.

“We’ve had so much support, not only from local residents but also CISWO, who have done all they can to help get it back up and running.

“We’d love to see as many people as possible turn out for the event, which will be a real community celebration and a great way to show what has been achieved in the last year.”

n The festival runs from 1pm until 6pm.