MORE than 30 children eagerly awaited the re-opening of the Ashford Hill playground last week, following a major overhaul.
The playpark was officially opened on Monday by two local mothers and members of the regeneration project, Maria Josey and Katie Cochrane, following a short speech by councillor and chairman of Ashford Hill with Headley Parish Council, Joe Woodford.
Mrs Cochrane cut the ribbon and said: “A big thank you to everyone who donated money. I hope you like it and I hope you look after it.”
Local mother Niki Hanny said the new playground was fantastic and added that it was important, as before there was nowhere for the children to go.
Her children, Joe, aged seven, and Alex, 10, were already enjoying the new equipment.
Villager Alison Jones said: “It’s lovely to see such a big difference and I think it will be used every day.”
Her daughter Freya, 14, added: “The old playground was decent, but the monkey bars were too high, and I was scared to go on them.”
Fundraising began in September 2014 and a total of nearly £94,000 was raised, spearheaded by the Ashford Hill Playground Regeneration Project.
Mr Woodford said: “As you can imagine, this was not easy and during dark, wet winter nights, when the committee held its meetings, we were not sure if we could reach our goal.
“Huge thanks must go to all of the members of the team for all their help on this project. Their hard work and determination have seen it through to its completion.”
They received a grant of £33,000 from Basingstoke and Deane’s Local Infrastructure Fund, as well as match-funding from Greenham Common Trust and donations from Big Lottery, Cheam School, Tesco Groundwork and Lady Sainsbury, in addition to donations from individuals and businesses.
Mr Woodford said the next projects to be considered will be the Headley playpark, and the changing rooms at Headley’s football ground.