FORMER Bath and England rugby player Lee Mears is to officially open Melksham Rugby Club’s new premises on Saturday, October 7.

The club is extending a warm welcome to all of its members and spectators to join them for the opening of its new facilities at the Oakfields Stadium, just off Eastern Way.

The £7 million new facility hosts the rugby club and Melksham Town Football Club. Both clubs were relocated to Oakfields as part of Wiltshire Council's Melksham Campus programme.

Melksham Rugby Club was formed in 1978 as the factory side for Avon Tyres. It will celebrate its 40th anniversary next year.

Lee Mears, who played hooker for Bath and England, retired at the age of 33 with a serious heart condition. He is now 38 and lives locally.

He will open the new clubhouse at 1.30pm with a ribbon cutting ceremony to kick off the day’s celebrations. The club moved into the new facilities in March.

The new clubhouse has four changing rooms, a kit store, changing facilities for the officials, a bar and lounge, kitchen. There is also a pitch-side servery for teas and coffees.

The official opening will be preceded by the club’s mini, girls and ladies sections demonstrating their skills during a training and practice drill session.

This will take place from around 12pm on Pitch No 1, which is overlooked by the club’s social bar area upstairs.

Hot food will be available to purchase from the pitch-side servery and kitchen upstairs. In addition, the Mini Section mothers will host a celebrated cake stall for eager spectators who feel like a snack.

During the afternoon, two senior matches will be played. The club’s 1st XV and 2nd XV both play in the Dorset and Wiltshire North leagues.

The first will kick off at 3pm and will see Melksham 1st XV (sponsored by Carols Cabs and RB Poolman) playing Bradford on Avon Ist XV.

The second match will feature Melksham 2nd XV (sponsored by Rich Hemmings and RB Poolman) play Cricklade.

Bar facilities will be open during the event and the club will be selling local beers from Box Steam Brewery and Kennet and Avon Brewery.