OVER the past year, improvements to the Horsfall Community Stadium have been extensive to say the least. A new 3G pitch and a much-needed perimeter fence was installed, and now a memorial garden is being built at the BD6 sports hub.

Volunteers from Bradford (Park Avenue) and West Bowling A.R.L.F.C., both tenants at the ground, have come together to create the facility which should be ready for mid-April to coincide with the reopening of outdoor hospitality.

The garden will be next to the stadium’s main entrance on Cemetery Road with the clubhouse bar available for punters seeking to enjoy a nice beverage.

In these socially distanced times, 30 people can access seating provided by five tables and fixed benches.

The scheme was funded through grants, and donations from local businesses, West Bowling, the BPA Development Fund, as well as a donation in memory of long-standing Avenue supporter Gilbert Fox.

The area has gone from an overgrown, dark and unwelcoming place to a large open and useable space for supporters to sit and socialise.

Stadium Operations Manager Mark Leadbeater said: “It started out with a few people from Avenue asking me if they could do something in there, then West Bowling became involved.

“Bowling have got a lot of skilled tradesmen that have come in. It's amazing what they have done all by themselves.

“We couldn’t have done it with either of them not involved. 90% of the physical work has been West Bowling but any materials used have all been bought by the Development Fund, we cannot thank them enough.

"People are donating the benches in memory of their families. Four out of the five tables have already got plaques on.

"There is going to be a brick design where people can pay their respect. That was Gareth (Roberts, Avenue chairman)’s idea.

“If your loved ones have passed away and they were a supporter of Avenue, West Bowling or the athletics, their name can go on the wall.

“Having the garden brings all those three clubs together. It is also not just a members club either, everybody is welcome.

“It’s a lovely sunspot there so you can sit in there socially distanced and enjoy a few drinks with friends.”

If you would like to sponsor a bench for £200, contact: bpadevtfund@gmail.com

The stadium's quarter-mile cushioned track, which can be used for walking, jogging, running, or cycling, will be open Monday-Friday (9am-11am) from April 12. Simply pay £3.50 per session (half price for under-18s) at the cafe.