Jamie Carrgher’s charity steps in to restore Rimrose Valley track

A popular Merseyside running track is set to be restored to its former glory after it fell into disrepair.

The former running track at the Waterloo end of Rimrose Valley Country Park was locally known as the 'Chaffers' to many.

Schools, athletics clubs and individuals all took advantage of the facility before it fell into disrepair and was unable to be used.

Local runner Chris Murphy introduced park charity Rimrose Valley Friends and the Rimrose Runners club to John Carragher – the brother of retired Liverpool FC defender, Jamie Carragher.

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John is a founding member of Marsh Lane Harriers running club and is connected to the 23 Foundation, his brother's charity which helps disadvantaged children in Merseyside and community organisations.

The team at the 23 foundation said they have stepped in with the offer to fund and deliver the project.

The joint venture between Rimrose Valley Friends and Marsh Lane Harriers required plans and applications to be submitted to Sefton Council.

The charity said the local authority has now approved the plans and a two-year licence has been granted to restore and use the track.

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Work is expected to begin in the very near future.

John said as soon as he heard the plans to restore the running track it was something he and his team wanted to get involved in.

He said: “As soon as we heard that efforts were being made to restore a sports facility the whole community can use to keep fit, we knew it was something we wanted to be involved in.

"We’re really excited and can’t wait to get started.”

Jamie Carragher

Trustee Linda Gaskell, speaking on the behalf of Rimrose Valley Friends said the restoration of the running track shows how the charity will show Rimrose Valley "as a vital community asset."

She said: "We’re so excited about this project and are hugely grateful to Marsh Lane Harriers and the 23 Foundation for helping to make this happen.

"Everyone involved is aware of the threat of Highways England’s road.

"The fact that the foundation has decided to support this anyway and Sefton Council has given the go ahead is a huge statement of intent and shows how we are planning for the long-term future of Rimrose Valley as a vital community asset.”

Co-leader of Rimrose Runners and fellow Rimrose Valley Friends Trustee, Sarah Edey added it was "fantastic news" for the whole community.

She said: "This is fantastic news not only for local running clubs like our own, but the whole community.

"We will obviously continue to use the rest of Rimrose Valley for our longer trail runs which take in the amazing scenery and nature it has to offer.”

The news has been warmly welcomed by other local running groups.

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Dennis Gill a former coach of Southport Waterloo Athletics Club, who campaigned to keep the original track said in recent years he was to see the detoriation of the track.

He said: "When I’ve been past the track in recent years it’s been really sad to see it deteriorate to the extent that you can no longer tell it was there, so it’s absolutely fantastic that it’s being revived in this way.

"In its heyday the track was home to hundreds of kids and other athletes, but it was also popular with the local community and there were always runners using it for their own training. It would be great to see that happening again.”

A spokesperson for Sefton Council said: "Sefton Council are continuing to work with the Friends of Rimrose Valley, to find the best solution to improve access to the wildflower meadow created last year following a successful funding bid by the Friends."

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