Burnham Market residents welcome new £60,000 play area

Burnham Market Primary School pupils who helped choose the play area equipment watch the opening ceremony
Burnham Market Primary School pupils who helped choose the play area equipment watch the opening ceremony
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A new £60,000 play area was officially opened in Burnham Market on Friday with the proud boast that it catered for everyone aged four to 84.

Eighteen months after community leaders began work on a project to replace unsafe equipment, a ribbon-cutting ceremony signified it was playtime for young and old.

Parish council deputy chairman, Jane Murphy, tries out one of the pieces of gym equipment watched by past chairman, Geof Hanley

Parish council deputy chairman, Jane Murphy, tries out one of the pieces of gym equipment watched by past chairman, Geof Hanley

Work still needs to be done to build a fence around the area and install a five-a-side football pitch.

But former parish council chairman Geof Hanley said: “I’ve really been very surprised at how much support we got and how easy it was to raise the funds.

“We’re extremely grateful to everyone who contributed.”

Jez Scoles, the parish council’s current chairman, said it had become obvious two years ago that the old play equipment needed to be replaced, adding: “It was unsafe, unusable and uninsurable so we thought we would have to look at a project to replace it.”

Three generations enjoy the new Burnham Market play area - grandfather Russell Cooper (back, left) and son Matthew help youngsters William and George get into the swing

Three generations enjoy the new Burnham Market play area - grandfather Russell Cooper (back, left) and son Matthew help youngsters William and George get into the swing

Mr Hanley said that a survey had identified the 10 pieces of equipment that residents most wanted to see in the play area.

The list included everything from toddlers’ swings and rides to three pieces of gym equipment.

Pupils at the village’s primary school were also asked to contribute ideas and the parish council received 96 responses.

The facility was built by Wymondham firm, Action Play and Leisure, and the drive to raise the money was kicked off with a Lottery grant of £6,760.

Three-year-old Harry Bennetts tries out a Springer ride in Burnham Market's new play area

Three-year-old Harry Bennetts tries out a Springer ride in Burnham Market's new play area

Among those who also contributed to the cost were Holkham Estate, house builders Hill Residential, the Chiplow and Jack’s Lane wind farms and local charity, the Moorhouse Trust.

Mr Hanley said: “There were lots of private donations from residents and visitors alike and they made the project viable.

“It took a year to raise the money and nine months to install the equipment.”

Parish council playground sub-committee members Jayne Marshall, Jez Scoles and Cindy Simpson cut the ribbon to open the new Burnham Market play area

Parish council playground sub-committee members Jayne Marshall, Jez Scoles and Cindy Simpson cut the ribbon to open the new Burnham Market play area