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New home for Crawley and Maidenbower Panthers FC

Crawley and Maidenbower Panthers FC now have a place to call home after taking on the lease for Maidenbower Playing Fields for the football season.

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The club was formed in July 2018 following the merger of two long-established local clubs – Maidenbower United FC and Crawley Panthers FC – with a mission to provide opportunities for everybody to play and learn football in the local community.

Their new home at Maidenbower Playing Fields is being leased to see if it works well for the club for this season and will now be home to more than 20 teams that will be playing the majority of their home matches here for the next year.

In previous years, the club could only play a small proportion of their games at their “home ground” because they didn’t have access to smaller pitches for the younger children but now the club is delighted they have a place to call home for this season.

In reaching an agreement with Crawley Borough Council, the club will have six new pitches suitable from under six teams and up, as well as on-site storage facilities. Crawley Borough Council’s Neighbourhood Services Team will be taking care of the Panthers’ new home by maintaining the pitches for the team as well as the football club agreeing to help take on many aspects of day-to-day maintenance.

Adam Swart, Chairman of Crawley and Maidenbower Panthers FC, said:

“This is a very proud moment for the football club and for the Maidenbower community as a whole. To be able to declare Maidenbower Park as our official home has been a dream of ours for many years.

“Establishing a more permanent home base here will allow us to grow our provision of grassroots football even further, benefiting all children in the Maidenbower and Pound Hill area. With teams playing from age six to 18 and at adult level, as well as dedicated girls’ teams, we can now truly deliver on our mission to offer opportunities for everyone to play football.”

Councillor Chris Mullins, Cabinet member for Wellbeing, said:

“This is great news for a local club which offers such a fun and supportive sporting experience to children of all ages and adults too.

“This new home is rewarding for the football club but also for the whole of the town because it is an opportunity for the community to come together. I hope this new home brings Crawley and Maidenbower Panthers Football Club the success they deserve.”

For more information on Crawley and Maidenbower Panthers FC visit cmpanthersfc.com

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Crawley drink-driver almost four times legal limit “felt fine” to drive

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A motorist who caused this crash, while almost four times the drink-drive limit, said he “felt fine to drive”.

Lincoln Simmons was driving a blue Volkswagen Passat on the A23 London Road, Crawley, about 1pm on 2 December when he collided a black Renault Clio.

The impact caused the Clio to mount the roundabout and crash through road signage. The driver – a 53-year-old woman from Haywards Heath – sustained significant bruising.

The Passat failed to stop at the scene and was located a short distance away, near Gatwick Airport.

Simmons failed a roadside breath test, and was subsequently arrested and charged with failing to stop after a road traffic collision, and driving with 139mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in his system. The legal limit is 35mcg.

In police interview, he stated he had consumed a litre of vodka the previous evening and a small bottle of whiskey prior to the crash, but claimed he is “used to drinking” so it “takes a lot of alcohol to feel the effects”.

The 48-year-old, who is unemployed, of Galahad Road, Crawley, pleaded guilty to both offences and was disqualified from driving for 32 months when he appeared before Crawley Magistrates’ Court on 11 February.

He was also given a 12-month community order requiring him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, and must pay £85 costs and a £95 victim surcharge.

Chief Inspector Michael Hodder, of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said:

“One of the most common excuses we hear from drink-drivers is that they “felt fine” to drive. But even a small amount of alcohol has the ability to impair your judgement and reaction time.

“Feeling fine is not a good judgement of your ability to drive. If you drink and drive you are committing an offence which carries with it a risk of serious injury or death to yourself or someone else.

 “The bottom line is there is no excuse to drive under the influence of drink or drugs.

“Our priority is to keep everyone safe on our roads, and we will continue to crack down on anyone who compromises this.”

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