FORMER TV sports presenter Dickie Davies took part in a ground-breaking ceremony for a multi-million-pound project at Sandford Springs Golf Club.

The event marked the start of work at the Kingsclere 27-hole layout club where a 40-room hotel is being built.

Dickie, best known for hosting ITV’s World of Sport, which ran from 1963 to 1985, is the club’s president.

He said: “I was delighted to be part of the ground-breaking ceremony – it was a fantastic day.

“Sandford Springs is a very special place and with the addition of a lovely hotel and major refurbishment to the clubhouse, it will surely be seen as one of the best resorts in the south of England.

“We are also creating at least 20 new employment opportunities for the local community which couldn’t come at a better time.

“I can’t wait until we open the hotel, it is a very exciting time for the local community, members and staff.”

The club is part of the Leaderboard Golf Group owned by Paul Gibbons, who co-founded Auto Trader along with Sir John Madejski.

He said: “We are very much looking forward to the opening of the new hotel at Sandford Springs this year.

“The hotel will not only create a significant level of employment during its construction and operation, but will also add to the Hampshire business and leisure community as well as expanding the Leaderboard Golf Group portfolio of hotels and golf courses.”

The hotel will overlook the 11th green and 12th tee on The Wood course and is expected to open in September.

It will be less than 200 yards from the main clubhouse, which will also see the start of a major refurbishment, beginning this month, including new changing rooms and kitchen, with work being carried out by the Leadbitter Group.