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Legal deed to safeguard Best's first football pitch

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Cregagh Green in east Belfast where George Best used to play

Cregagh Green in east Belfast where George Best used to play

George Best

George Best

Cregagh Green in east Belfast where George Best used to play

The green where Belfast-born footballing legend George Best first kicked a ball has been protected for years to come.

Cregagh Green in east Belfast has become the first project in the UK to be awarded funding by the London Marathon Charitable Trust as part of The Active Spaces Forever programme, delivered with Fields in Trust to protect and activate outdoor recreation spaces.

The green will be protected in perpetuity through a legal deed of dedication between Belfast City Council and Fields in Trust.

A grant of £5,000 will help to promote physical activity and community participation in the space where George Best, dubbed by the Irish Football Association as the "greatest player to ever pull on the green shirt of Northern Ireland", first kicked a football as a young boy.

The funding will be used for activities such as rugby, athletics, football, tennis and sports for people with disabilities to help encourage health and mental well-being.

Councillor Adam Newton of Belfast City Council said: "We've committed in our Belfast Agenda to making sure that everyone in the city experiences good health and well-being, and that everyone will be able to enjoy its parks and public spaces, so we're delighted to have secured this investment.

"It means that this valuable green space which has a unique association with one of our most famous sons, George Best, will be safeguarded, and that we can encourage more local people to follow in his footsteps and get active in Cregagh Green."

Sarah Ridley of the London Marathon Charitable Trust said: "It's great to see Cregagh Green become the first in the long list of inspiring projects which will be permanently protected through funding from the trust, enabling local people to enjoy the benefits of physical activity into the future."

Belfast Telegraph