He’s one of the city’s top chefs – but now Mark Greenaway is serving up a different kind of delight after he put cash on the table to help a struggling children’s football team.
The award-winning restaurateur, who owns two venues in the Capital, stepped in after reading about Kirkliston and South Queensferry Football Club’s plight in the Evening News on Saturday.
The under-13s at the cash-strapped club have been denied game time at Kirkliston Leisure Centre because bosses demanded they pay for insurance protection worth £10 million.
That would come in at around £600 a year for the club to use the 11-a-side pitch, the only one in the area, outwith the current three and a half hours it is open every weekend.
Club officials said they kept hitting brick walls despite spending months in talks with the leisure centre, which has now dismantled the 11-a-side goals completely.
The goal posts might have just been moved for the 250 youngsters who attend the club, though, now that Mr Greenaway has stepped in.
The 36-year-old said: “I read the article, then showed some of the chefs and we all agreed it was disgusting.
“All these walls are being put up in their way – it just seemed like the right thing to do.
“The thought of kids not being able to play football for the sake of £600 is crazy.
“I understand insurance is a very important thing and I understand the reasoning behind it – I just thought it’s crazy when there’s 250 kids involved.” Mr Greenaway’s motivation comes from his fiancé, Nicola Jack, 30, whose family are “football mad”.
He said: “Football is never off the TV in their house, so to do something that could possibly help a little team is great – for a restaurant it’s such a small amount of money but obviously for children that’s a huge amount.
“We are doing it so the guys can get a game and hopefully we can raise awareness – it’s just nice to be nice.”
Mr Greenaway also offered to give the youngsters advice on nutrition to help them improve on the park too.
And his big-hearted giveaway has inspired Kirkliston Village housebuilders Barratt, Cala and Walker to donate £750 to the cause.
A spokesman for the developers said they were “delighted to have the opportunity to make a contribution”.
Mark Richardson, chairman of Kirkliston & South Queensferry Football Club, said: “It’s great that people read the article and took more interest in it, so it will be interesting to see what we now get from Edinburgh Leisure.
“We had to transfer a team to Queensferry High School because we couldn’t use the pitch, but it will now allow the 2002-born boys to get public liability insurance.”