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Village play park is officially opened

A new play area is in full swing after being officially opened in Benwick.

Benwick play park 1

Members of Fenland District and Benwick Parish councils gathered with project partners and villagers as excited school children got to try out the £115,000 play park for the first time on Friday, June 16.

A ribbon cutting ceremony marked the official opening, with Councillor Peter Murphy, Fenland District Council's portfolio holder for parks and open spaces, and children from Benwick Primary School doing the honours.

Cllr Murphy said: "This was a very ambitious project for a small place like Benwick and a lot of work went into securing the funding for it. Now villagers can enjoy using the fantastic new equipment all year round."

The play park, designed and installed by specialist manufacturer HAGS, caters for all ages with a MUGA (Multi-Use Games Area), zip-wire, swings, roundabout and seesaw, along with new seating and landscaped areas.

Funding for the project came from WREN (£50,000), Section 106 contributions (£48,000), Fenland District Council (£13,480) and Benwick Parish Council (£3,000).

Speaking to those who had gathered for the special event, Parish Council Chairman Mark Chapman said: "This has been a long time coming for a great number of years. I have been on the parish council for nearly 10 years and in that time we have planned and saved and chased funds, but it is finally here!

"It looks truly excellent. I hope it will be used by all groups in the village and respected and looked after for years to come."

Helen Sephton-Pike, area manager for HAGS, said the opening of the play park was delayed by torrential rain flooding the area when installation began in January. A subsequent lack of rain then meant grass seed wouldn't grow.

"It was very frustrating but now it is finally open, and it's so wonderful to see the children enjoying it," she said.

As a gesture to the village, Mrs Sephton-Pike also presented two cheques on the day of £125 each. One was donated to Benwick Primary School, and the other to Benwick Scouts.

Article added: June 22, 2017