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New £60,000 Burham Market play area aims to cater for everyone, from toddlers to grandparents

PUBLISHED: 06:54 28 March 2018

Former Burnham Market Parish Council chairman Geof Hanley looks on as deputy chairman Jane Murphy tries out a piece of gym equipment. Photo: PETER BIRD

Former Burnham Market Parish Council chairman Geof Hanley looks on as deputy chairman Jane Murphy tries out a piece of gym equipment. Photo: PETER BIRD

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Villagers turned out in force to celebrate the opening of a new £60,000 play area in Burnham Market.

Burnham Market's new £60,000 play area. Photo: PETER BIRDBurnham Market's new £60,000 play area. Photo: PETER BIRD

Former parish council chairman Geof Hanley, who attended the event, said the Station Road facility was for “everyone from the age of four to eighty-four”.

A survey had identified the ten pieces of equipment residents would most like to see in the play area, Mr Hanley explained, and these had included items ranging from toddlers’ swings and rides and a five-a-side football pitch, to three pieces of gym equipment.

Burnham Market Primary School pupils watch the play area opening ceremony. Photo: PETER BIRDBurnham Market Primary School pupils watch the play area opening ceremony. Photo: PETER BIRD

There was an enthusiastic reaction to the survey, with the parish council receiving 96 responses from pupils at Burnham Market Primary School and younger residents playing a large part in the final choice of equipment.

Burnham Market Parish Council current chairman Jez Scoles said the project had been launched in 2016, when it became obvious that the old equipment was worn out.

Former Burnham Market Parish Council chairman Geof Hanley welcomes visitors to the official opening of the new village play area. Photo: PETER BIRDFormer Burnham Market Parish Council chairman Geof Hanley welcomes visitors to the official opening of the new village play area. Photo: PETER BIRD

“It was unsafe, unusable and uninsurable, so we thought we would have to look at a project to replace it,” he explained.

It took a year to raise the money and nine months to install the equipment and, after an eighteen-month wait, a large crowd of residents and visitors watched as parish council play area sub-committee members Jayne Marshall, Cindy Stimpson and Jez Scoles jointly cut a ribbon to signify it was playtime for everyone, whatever their age.

Parish council play area sub committee members Jayne Marshall, Jez Scoles and Cindy Stimpson cut a ribbon to open the play area. Photo: PETER BIRDParish council play area sub committee members Jayne Marshall, Jez Scoles and Cindy Stimpson cut a ribbon to open the play area. Photo: PETER BIRD

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

Among those who also contributed to the project were Holkham Estate, developer Hill Residential, community benefit funds run by Chiplow and Jack’s Lane wind farms and the Burnham Marked-based Harold Moorhouse Charity.

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

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

“I have been very surprised at how much support we got and how easy it was to raise the funds,” Mr Hanley said. “We are extremely grateful to everyone who contributed.”

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