A YOUTH football club devastated by the loss of thousands of pounds welcomed Reading FC captain Paul McShane to help with their pavilion upgrade.

Laurel Park FC lost £28,000 in April after the club’s former treasurer was duped into handing over funds intended for improvements.

With the support of Reading FC, the English Football League and Wickes, Laurel Park will be able to have a newly-refurbished clubhouse by the end of the week.

Mike Bradshaw, the club’s interim chairman, said: “We were never going to let this beat us. The club intended to use the funds for upgrades and we just accepted that we would not be able to improve the club.

“But thanks to the help of the community, Reading FC and Wickes, we have been given a second chance to rebuild the club and turn a very negative event into a huge positive.

Reading Chronicle:

“It has been overwhelming. Since day one we have had a number of people come forward with offers of help and we want to repay our thanks to them at some point.”

The clubhouse project is due to be completed by Friday and all those lending a hand will receive entry level qualifications in painting and decorating.

As well as tools and materials, Wickes provided new kit for some of the youth teams, while Reading FC donated 100 free tickets for Saturday’s home game against Fulham.

Youth team players are also due to appear at the Madejski Stadium this weekend for the half-time penalty shootout display.

Mr Bradshaw added: “Having the support of a major football club is huge for us. It is about much more than that though. It proves what the community is capable of and we are hugely grateful.

“We are a grassroots football club and for us to have Reading Ladies and Paul McShane come down today means a great deal.

“We are hoping to redecorate the whole pavilion as part of this project. The weather has been against us, but if all goes to plan all of the changing rooms and toilets will be repainted.”