SPECTATORS in Wiveliscombe will enjoy watching rugby and cricket in more comfort thanks to a huge legacy left to the town's recreation ground.

The trustees recently learned they had been left £96,000 in the will of Eileen Mary Gardner, of Honiton, for general maintenance at the 'rec', established as a war memorial venue after the First World War.

Mrs Gardner's donation is in memory of her father, William Collard, a draper and boot seller in High Street, who retired in 1954.

Bill Whitman, acting chairman of the Wiveliscombe War Memorial Recreation Ground, said: "The trustees are delighted to announce that they are now in a position to fund the repairs to the grandstand and have instructed the management committee to seek quotes from builders with the intention of beginning work once the ground has become firmer.

"The trustees and the management committee together will also be looking at how the future of the Recreation Ground can be secured as well as how it can be developed for the 21st century as it approaches its centenary in 2020."

The rec, which also hosts football and tennis matches as well as rugby and cricket, and has a children's play area and outdoor swimming pool, was provided by public subscription in 1920.

It is maintained mainly through the voluntary work of a few members of the community, while Taunton Deane Borough Council gives a small grant each year to help maintain the grounds.

The bulk of the running costs are met through Bonfire Night celebrations in November.

The town council and donations in memory of recently deceased residents have helped enhance disabled access, with much of the work carried out with the help of the Community Payback Team.

Mr Whitman paid tribute to Chris Hendy, who has stood down as chairman of the management committee due to pressure of work.

He also appealed for volunteers to help run the asset, particularly on Bonfire Night - anyone who can help should e-mail Mr Whitman via wjwhitman@btinternet.com