Sir Alan Haselhurst opens new play area in Thaxted

A YEAR of fundraising has paid dividends for Thaxted following the official unveiling the village’s play area.

The parish council-led �90,000 scheme took 12 months to complete from consultation to completion.

And it suffered its ups and downs. A major setback came in May when a �48,000 grant from Playbuilder had been frozen, �leaving the council to proceed with a much-reduced scheme on the basis of funding it had been promised from Essex County Council’s Community Initiative Fund, West Essex Area Forum and Viridor Credits.

Local people and organisations chipped in and donated more than �6000 towards the project while two boys from Thaxted Primary School – Teddy and Archie Payne – raised more than �700 from a sponsored bike ride.

The council raised a further �765 by selling the old play equipment and safety tiles.

Then, a week after the installation had started, in October, �Uttlesford �District Council revealed that the Playbuilder funds had been released, enabling the council to reinstate the entire original scheme to include a zip wire, new perimeter fencing and challenging climbing frames and swings for the under and over eights.

Cllr Ruth Ship, a driving force behind the scheme, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the �parish council has found the help to provide this play facility for our �children.

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“It is the only play area in Thaxted. The old play area was 40 years old and in desperate need of replacement.”

Friday’s opening was attended by 60 Thaxted Primary School children, keen to try out the new equipment, together with district and parish councillors, Sir Alan Haselhurst MP, representatives from Viridor Credits and other local �benefactors.

After a helium balloon release the children played on the �equipment before tucking into home-made cakes while the adults were offered mulled wine and mince pies.

Sir Alan told the children they could learn some important lessons from the success of the project.

“It just shows what can be done and how many people co-operate to make these things happen,” he said before the unveiling.

“I hope you all enjoy this �playground. It is a real asset for the village and everyone involved is to be congratulated.”

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