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The Hoops’ new floodlights will be used for the first time when they play Chatham Town on Tuesday night.

The new lights replace the Charles Ground’s original set of floodlights which were installed in 1964 when the club were playing in the Southern League  and which had been regularly “showing their age” in recent years.

Hoops chairman Dave Chmura said: “We had fought an uphill battle with the old lights, replacing bulb after bulb at great cost and breaking the hearts of those who were striving to maintain them.

“And there was also the danger that, because of the poor quality of the lights, we would eventually not be allowed to enter the FA Cup or FA Vase, or to play in the Southern Counties East League, because to play in those competitions your floodlights must have a minimum lux level.

“But, thanks to generous donations from Mark Quinn of Mark Quinn Estates and Jason Jenkinson of Jenkinson Estates, plus a grant from the European Union Regional Development Fund and using some of our own savings, we have been able to pay for the new lights without ‘breaking the bank’.

“And I’m told that the new lights are close to the standard of the floodlights you find at Conference level clubs, so all in all, it’s another important step forward for the club.”

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