A NEW village football club has risen from an original club which folded last year and is helping promote mental health.

Princetown FC folded after a lack of commitment, but thanks to the efforts of some original players and community football champions it has reformed.

The Princetown Sundays has not played since 2021/2022 and they are looking forward to a new era of competitive football under the managers, Oliver Gourd and Mark Lewis, and the chairmanship of Mark’s father Allen Lewis. Allen is a well known figure in West Devon grassroots football, including with the Tavistock Specials — an inclusive club which gives anyone of any background and ability with a chance to play competitively.

Mark Lewis said: ‘We are very pleased that we have been able to reform Princetown FC with changes of faces in management and on the pitch. This will be good for Princetown and gives local players aged 16 the chance of playing adult football in their own village. It’s difficult for youngsters to get games against senior players if they don’t have transport and obviously can’t drive, especially if they live in a more remote place like Princetown.

‘The previous club folded after a lack of commmitment, by some people. But we have firm commitment now and enthusiasm and dedication to community football by a fantastic committee of Angela Wallace, Sheena Lewis, Ray Moule and our chairman Allen Lewis. It all looks good for the longer term and we can’t wait to get playing again. We started training in March and missed the winter season, but are playing pre-season games to start us on the front foot.’

The club pitch, next to Princetown Community Centre, has been prepared well and has nets up all year to give the community, including the school, a place to play.

Mark added: ‘We’re very proud to announce our support of The Clean Sheet mental health service forum and have collaborated with them for our new and wonderful training tops. We can’t wait to get the squad kitted out in our new gear with a big thanks to Tyler Eastham, of the forum, for the opportunity.’

The Clean Sheet mental health forum is a campaign set up by a local footballer and manager to support footballers and other sporting people and anyone in coping with stress and anxiety.

Tyler set up the forum as an awareness campaign when he ran Plymouth Athletic FC and after he lost a childhod friend to suicide. He said: ‘Firstly I’m really pleased that the club has been set up again with Allen and his son Mark at the helm. Also, it’s good for the village to have its own club back and for youngsters to be able to play adult football. It’s good for them physically and mentally. Mental health among sportsmen and women is very important to me because I firmly believe that sport has the framework in which support can be given to people with anxiety and stress. The teamwork and sense of achievement is good for self-esteem. Clean Sheet aims to reduce the stigma around mental health, especially among men and male footballers who don’t talk about it.’