The UK & Ireland Grassroots Pitch Renovation tour came to a close in Dublin at the end of May, as 875 groundsmen, club and council officials attended 13 events in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The tour, which was supported by sponsors Pitchcare, New Holland, Limagrain, ICL, SISIS, Dennis and ALS, aimed to educate grassroots groundsmen using the latest machinery and most innovative industry techniques, in order to improve the standard of local pitches.
Throughout each event participants were shown how implementing small, as well as large changes to maintenance practices, regardless of budget restraints, could radically improve the quality of pitches in a short space of time.
One such participant, who was present at the Leyland open day in May, was Angus Lindsay, group head of assets and fleet at The Landscape Group, who was especially impressed by the enthusiasm of all the sponsors, and spoke about the importance of such events if local facilities are to improve.
"I'd like to start by saying how excellent the day was, and I'm sure that my colleagues from around the country would have benefited greatly had they been able to attend," he began.
"Richard Campey, and indeed the whole of the Campey team's enthusiasm for the products they sell, services they provide and the industry in general is admirable, and something a lot of people could learn from.
"Unfortunately the people who don't attend these events handicap not only themselves, but also the landscape and facilities they are responsible for, and as such they will never develop the sports facilities available to the general public.
"I cannot say how much I admire what Campey do and the passion they have, please don't stop."
The views of Angus were echoed by attendees from other events around the country, all of whom were able to apply the expert advice they received from all of the speakers and technical staff.
Having the opportunity to gain an insight into how our industry operates, as explained by Daten Football Club groundsman, Ian Trantum,
"It's very important for grassroots groundsman like me to have the opportunity to see high-quality machines in action as we don't often get the chance to go to bigger clubs to see machinery working.
"It's imperative to keep in the loop and be aware what's changing in the industry, and by coming to this day and talking to fellow industry professionals and other groundsman I've been able to do that, and it's been an invaluable experience."
As well as the attendees benefitting from the experience, the hosts of each day -without whom the tour would not have been possible - have had the added bonus of a full pitch renovation as part of the demonstrations, guaranteeing them and their players an excellent playing surface for the coming season and many more seasons to come.
David Curtis Estates Officer (Grounds) Department of Physical Resources at Ulster University expressed interest in the machinery.
"I was impressed with the vast array of equipment on offer and was particularly taken with the RotoKnife, that unlike some of the larger kit, I could incorporate into my in-house maintenance programmes."
Richard Campey extends a massive thank you to everyone involved and in particular to those who took the time to attend, despite the changeable weather ranging from 28 degrees sunshine to the hailstones and floods to we affectionately describe as summer!
For the full range of equipment from Campey Turf Care Systems visit www.campeyturfcare.comFor the full range of equipment from Campey Turf Care Systems visit www.campeyturfcare.com