LAYING in bed late at night listening to the sound of gunshots as thousands of live stock were killed at the height of the foot and mouth outbreak Dougie Raine knew he had to do something.
Farms and livelihoods were being wiped out, communities and families left with a sense of devastation which would linger for years.
Dougie said: “It was devastating. I came home one night, they had stopped all the traffic up and down Lythe Bank.
“All you could hear while laid in bed was ‘bang, bang, bang’ when they were killing the cattle and then the diggers dropping the carcasses into the verges. It was terrible, really, really eerie.”
The following day Dougie, who at the time ran Sandsend Stores, approached Lord Normanby about doing something to bring the community together and give them something to focus on.
A few more meetings followed and in 2002 a committee was formed which set about creating Mulgrave Community Sports Association.
Under that umbrella are now Goldsborough FC and Mulgrave Cricket Club which were both in need of a boost and several junior football and cricket teams as well as Whitby and Loftus running club which all contribute to the £8000 annual running costs.
Dougie said: “I spoke with Lord Normanby over a length of time about putting things together and other sports coming in should we get stuck into it right and this is exactly what has happened.”
Officially opened in 2007, thanks to a lot of help from the Normanby Trust, the finishing touches are being made to the project, which is maintained by an eight strong team of volunteer groundsmen.
It is hoped a memorial garden in memory of local man Art Coakley killed in the 2009 Air France disaster can be created and a fence put up around the grounds.
Dougie added: “Then hopefully that will be job completed. The committee are still with it apart from two who have left the area. They have been absolutely fantastic and I cannot speak too highly of them.
“When I had the business in Sandsend I dealt with the farmers and grew up with a lot of them. When
we wanted favours like grass cutting or rolling they have been there to help us.
“They thought this was a great idea and backed it all the way. We have just finished the bowling green and last Saturday there were 43 people on there at one time.
“That rammed it home to me - this is exactly what it was about - we wanted to create something for the children, cricket and football teams and the elderley as well. We have ticked all the boxes and it is a huge success.”
Adrian Trowsdale lost 300 sheep and 80 cattle during the outbreak which wiped out his business at Redmire Farm but now he is vice chair of Mulgrave Cricket Club and his two children play cricket.
He said: “I had the farm for 12 years, started with nothing and that was it for me - I didn’t go back into farming.
“There is nowhere better for miles around. It is a marvellous facility. Money raised and donated has been put to good use and it would be good if there was room for further development.”