Former Wales rugby captain, Paul Thorburn, who is now business development consultant working is South Wales, has expressed his support for the Go Underhill development.
Paul and his family have longstanding connections with the Park: as a player, as a parent and as a local resident.
Speaking about his links with Underhill Park and his reasons for supporting the development, Paul said:
“I am delighted to be giving my support to the Go Underhill development, as the venue has played such an important part in my family’s life, not just for me, but also for my brother and our families.
“My first experience of visiting Underhill Park was as a fresh faced 18 year old, just out of school, when in 1981, along with my older brother Andy, we played for South Gower RFC against Mumbles 2nd XV.
“Although I cannot recall the actual outcome of the game, it marked the start of what became many visits to the facility, either as players, or as parents standing on the touchline cheering on our kids.
“During my own playing career, I also played at the ground for Neath RFC team in 1987, to celebrate Mumbles RFC’s centenary year, another keenly contested fixture. I have, on many occasions, enjoyed the festival atmosphere of the Cracker 7’s weekend and watched the occasional cricket match as well.
Match programme kept by Simon Evans, Chair of Mumbles RFC
“What may come as a surprise to many is that my parental touchline encounters were not in support of my son or daughter on the rugby pitch, but in fact it was as they progressed up the soccer tree for Mumbles Rangers, a sport that gave them, and us as parents, so many enjoyable moments and created friendships that have stayed with us.
“Regardless of which sport, facilities like Underhill Park did and must continue to play a pivotal role in the shaping of people’s lives, so we need to ensure that they are fit for purpose and provide the necessary facilities for future generations to enjoy and use.
“In addition to the enjoyment of the sporting encounters, when living just above the Park on Southward Lane, it provided the ideal location for fitness training and also many early morning dog walks. So, like many families in the locality, Underhill Park has played an integral part in shaping lives and has provided the ideal backdrop for sporting and leisure activities, regardless of ability and interest.”
Chair of Mumbles Community Association, Simon Tse, said:
“We’re delighted that Paul has come forward to express his support for Go Underhill and it’s great to hear about the role the Park has played for him and his family over many years. Although we know the Park is much loved and well used, stories from people like Paul, who have played an important role in Welsh sport, really bring that home.
“Support for the Go Underhill development is really coming together now and we’re confident that we will be putting these plans into action before too long. It will be fantastic to see the improved facilities there, ensuring a great future for existing users and creating new opportunities which the whole community can enjoy.”