Stowmarket community celebrates grand opening of £107,000 Pikes Meadow play area with family fete
PUBLISHED: 11:29 16 July 2017 | UPDATED: 11:44 16 July 2017
Dozens of families celebrated the official opening of £107,000 of children’s play equipment in Stowmarket on Saturday.
The fete showed the “true community spirit” in the town, with people attending a range of activities throughout the day.
The celebration marked the end of phase two of the Combs Ford Pikes Meadow revamp, with the new equipment, designed for children aged between two and 12, part of £107,000 investment which saw a fitness area installed last October.
The funding was secured by the Friends of Pikes Meadow, and was supported by Mid Suffolk District Council and Stowmarket Town Council.
Tammy Denny, chairman of the friends group, said on Saturday: “It has been a great day. We just wanted to do something for the community to celebrate the new play equipment.
“The children seem to really enjoy it. The builders finished it ahead of schedule three weeks ago, and there are always children playing on it. We are really proud of the fundraising.
“Today is a way of saying thank you.
“We want Pikes Meadow to be a great asset not just to this part of town, but to the whole community.”
The play equipment was officially opened with a ribbon cutting by 9-year-old Lilly Hawkins.
Simon Burton, treasurer of the friends, said: “Completely off her own back Lilly decided she wanted to raise money for us. She came to us with the idea of doing a readathon. She read 33 books in 33 days and raised more than £300. She is a very special girl.
“It has been an incredible effort from everyone involved. Since we lost the last play equipment [in 2014] we have had to work hard to make Pikes Meadow a place for the community again.”
For the friends, the Pikes Meadow project is far from over. Mr Burton added: “We have plans for an accessible roundabout as well as an accessible path so everyone, including those with disabilities, has access to the equipment.
“Then we have a nature reserve on the other side of the river, which needs a footbridge to open it up.”
Mid Suffolk and town councillor Gerard Brewster said: “When I first went past and saw the children playing, I have to say I got a bit emotional.
“This is a great example of a community-led project doing something brilliant for their own community.”