As we come to the end of the strangest most difficult year many of us have ever experienced it is time to reflect and remember. I don't think anyone had any idea of what was ahead of us on January 1st, 2020, I had only heard some vague mutterings on news programmes about some virus in China. We were not to know the devastating impact Covid was going to have on our lives. On a personal level I was helping my son run our under 14s and getting on with being Chairperson of a thriving football club with over 500 members when virtually overnight I became an elderly vulnerable old person who couldn't even leave the house to do my shopping. Thankfully my family looked after us during that time but I am aware not everyone was so lucky to have such support.
The virus took some legendary members from us , Paddy Hughes, Mick Donoghue and Colm Harpur passed away this year. These men had given years of service to Leixlip United and the esteem in which they were held in the club was reflected in the big turnout of people at their funerals. Due to the restrictions, we could only stand on the road outside the church, but we will honour their contributions to our club in due course. Executive members Damien Kehir, Gary Byrne and Brian Sweeney also suffered bereavements in 2020. To them and all who have lost loved ones we send our deepest condolences and sympathy.
Due to covid there was very little football played this year and at the moment the prospects for 2021 are only marginally better, hopefully the vaccines will bring us all some respite. With so little football we embarked on a serious clean-up program around the club and it was very rewarding to see the response from people. There was a lot of painting and decorating that went on during those months and investment in improved facilities in the club. This investment in improved facilities will continue in January when we will get more areas resurfaced and some new drainage installed. None of this would be possible without the support of our parents and sponsors. Croi Laighean Credit Union, O'Regan Motors, Carton Retail Park and Glen Easton Spar have been incredibly supportive of our club and we are very appreciative of their generosity. This year we added a Wheelchair access door and ramp to our coffee shop, and we are deeply Indebted to Liam Grant Windows and John Sweeney for supplying and fitting the door and glass.
We are hugely indebted to the men and women who manage our 40 plus teams, thanks to them we were able continue training for all. We must also thank the parents and grandparents for continuing to bring their children training. Ciaran Tighe and all his helpers in the Academy also deserve huge praise for the safe environment they created for all the youngsters to enjoy Sunday after Sunday. If I am honest, I was concerned about starting and continuing the Academy in the midst of the virus, but Ciaran and his coaches made it possible. We must also thank all who bought into the wearing of masks and supported all our efforts to keep everyone safe. What we must never forget is the fact that all our coaches, managers, executive committee members and our club shop staff are all volunteers, and I can't thank them enough for all their efforts on behalf of our club.
Looking forward to 2021 we shall continue to keep training going and hopefully we can get back to playing at some point next year. We shall continue to grow our underage section and look to increase the number of teams. We are particularly hopeful to increase our schoolgirl section, it has grown in the last few years but with the number of girls coming out of the Academy we think the girls section will continue to grow at an even faster rate in the future. Likewise, the schoolboy section will continue to grow and expand. We are currently in the process of looking for a suitable candidate to take on the position of Director of Football in the club. I would hope to be in position to make an announcement on this especially Important decision early in the new year.
We also need to replace our main astro surface inside the next 3 years and we must start planning for that serious investment. We shall need to look at replacing the surfaces in the 3 cages and improved lighting is needed for the grass training area also. A new clubhouse is also something on our wish list but for now that's what it will remain, a wish. In the current climate our recent Christmas draw was a huge success, and we are very grateful to all those who bought or sold tickets. As a result, we were delighted that we were able to donate 500 euro to charitable causes.
We are very lucky to have the calibre of people involved with our club both on the managing and coaching side and also on our executive committee. We always need new people so if you think you could contribute in any capacity please do not hesitate to contact myself or any committee member. In conclusion may I once again thank all our coaches who have continued to give their time and expertise to our schoolboys and schoolgirls and wish them and every one of you a very happy new year. Let us all hope for a better year in 2021.
Yours in sport,