STATE-of-the-art new football pitches have been unveiled in Deeside.

Six eagerly anticipated 3G football pitches, complete with turf and floodlighting, have officially opened at Deeside Leisure Centre.

The £500,000 facility was opened by executive member for leisure, Councillor Dennis Hutchinson, on Friday.

The launch coincided with the tenth anniversary of Dragon Sport in Flintshire which has supported over 70 primary schools and 45 community clubs with resources and training since 2000.

Last year saw the highest level of participation with over 11,000 participants of primary age.

Cllr Hutchinson said: “We are very proud of these state of the art pitches and delighted that the Dragon Sport football festival is officially opening them.

“These pitches will be an excellent resource for Deeside Leisure Centre for many years to come."

More than 250 girls from Flintshire primary schools took part in a football festival to celebrate the launch.

Gareth Owen, football development officer for flintshire, said: “'It makes me incredibly proud to see so many girls wanting to play football and will encourage further development in the girls' game over the coming months.”

Active Young People coordinator Matt Hayes added: “This is an exciting event and it is fitting that we are able to open such a fabulous facility with the first girls Dragon Sport girls football festival.

“We plan to build on the interest and continue to provide opportunities for further participation.”

The popular annual fireworks display at Deeside Leisure Centre was this year held at Wepre Park while construction work on the pitches was under way.

Detailed design has started on the rest of the redevelopment, being carried out by leisure specialist company Alliance Leisure Services, which includes health and fitness, extreme sports and a spa.

The second phase of work, due to start in 2011, will include the conversion of an old first floor nightclub into an 80-station health and fitness suite, two fitness studios and new changing rooms.