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The Cromwell Sports Club has hosted many of the town’s important events in its 35-year history, and the community is giving back to raise funds for a much-needed upgrade of the venue.

The club became a charitable trust last year and secretary Paula Clark said its building needed a major revamp to make it fit for purpose as Cromwell grows rapidly.

Local design and building company Hunter and Craig has drawn up upgrading plans and the renovations are expected to cost $2million.

Cromwell Sports Club artists render (Before and after). Graphic: Hunter & Craig

Work would begin in August next year, Mrs Clark said, if all or most of the cost had been raised by then. Mrs Clark said the building is used about 250 times a year for sporting events for the eight clubs it houses, and also used widely by community groups including schools, the Lions Club, Reap, the New Zealand Army and the local police.

“We’re also used for funerals, we are used for weddings, we’ve been used for club members 21st or 40th birthday parties,” she said.

The next major fundraiser is a rogaine event this Sunday on land owned by Webb’s Orchard, the neighbouring Leyser and Sanders farms, and Scott Base and Burns Cottage vineyards. Rogaining is a team sport of long-distance cross-country navigation, where teams compete to visit as many checkpoints as possible within a set time. Terry Davis, of Highland Events, who is a committee member for the junior football club and said he is passionate about sports in general, describes rogaining as a perfect metaphor for life.

“It takes perseverance, fitness, teamwork, and it’s really good fun,” Mr Davis said.

Children particularly love roaming the hills following clues, he said, especially those who live mainly urban lifestyles.

“It forces you to go down into the bottom of some gully you’d never normally walk to, or right to the top of some hill and gives you a reason to really explore.”

Heading for the hills . . . Cromwell Sports Club secretary Paula Clark and Simon Webb, owner of Webb Orchards, look forward to the rogaine fundraiser on Sunday on land owned by Mr Webb and his neighbours.

Simon Webb, treasurer of the junior rugby football club and owner of the orchard that will be open to event participants, said rogaining was very self-motivating, especially for children. The organisers stressed that the event would go ahead under Alert Level 2 Covid regulations.

Mr Webb said many local businesses had joined the landowners to support the fundraiser, providing prizes for winners, as well as spot prizes, and items and services for an online silent auction. Mrs Clark said the Cromwell community was definitely behind the club in raising funds for the renovation, and loved to support such projects.

“We are a community building,” she said.

“We are perfectly located right in the centre of Cromwell.”