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New £70,000 play area opens after 'huge team effort' from villagers

PUBLISHED: 16:30 09 December 2019

Connor  enjoying the new play equipment  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Connor enjoying the new play equipment Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Children in a Suffolk village finally have a place to play - after the community worked together to secure a new £70,000 playground.

Matilda and Tilly May having fun on the trampoline  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNMatilda and Tilly May having fun on the trampoline Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The play area in Church Road, Woolpit, has officially opened to the village's children after the money was secured through a year of fundraising.

Ian Belham, chairman of the village hall and playing field trustees, said the project came to fruition due to the community's teamwork and dedication to ensure children have a place to play.

The £70,000 project was unveiled by former Dad's Army star Ian Lavender, who lives in the village, before children from Woolpit Primary School become the first youngsters to try out the new equipment.

Mr Belham said: "It has been a huge team effort in Woolpit to bring this project to life.

Dad's Army star Ian Lavender officially opened the equipment Picture: ARCHANTDad's Army star Ian Lavender officially opened the equipment Picture: ARCHANT

"When the quotes came in for the play area, we thought it was a huge amount.

"But we achieved our target within a year and we're very pleased."

Woolpit residents began raising funds for a new play area after the village's existing one, with wooden equipment, had become unsafe.

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After being quoted a figure of £70,000, residents of the village set themselves the task of raising the cash through fundraising events and securing grants.

Mr Belham said "substantial" grants from the National Lottery, Mid Suffolk and Babergh District Councils and Woolpit businesses helped fund the project.

He added: "The community came together and raised thousands of pounds with different events. Then the parish council topped up that amount."

The project was aided by R and P Baker and Parker's Pitches, who prepared the site for redevelopment free of charge.

Children from Woolpit Primary school enjoying their new play equipment  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNChildren from Woolpit Primary school enjoying their new play equipment Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Councillor Michael Hardiman said: "It was so exciting as the children were allowed out of school to play.

"It was wonderful as the children have been waiting for so long for this."

Mr Belham paid tribute to everyone who supported the play area redevelopment project over the last year.

He said: "I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported this project."

Children from Woolpit Primary school enjoying their new play equipment  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNChildren from Woolpit Primary school enjoying their new play equipment Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Mr Hardiman added: "It's quite a community we have here in Woolpit."

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