CHILDREN living in Ambleside have their very own new play area thanks to the tireless efforts of one very determined resident together with the support of a whole community.

Less than 18 months ago, the playground site on Greenbank and Castlefield was little more than a neglected, overgrown patch of grass. However, energetic fund-raising has transformed it into a custom-built playground with the latest in play equipment chosen by the children themselves.

Behind it all was Residents’ Association Secretary Marj Waddecar, who remained undeterred by the prospect of raising £75,000 to pay for the much-needed playground.

“It’s a long way down from here for little legs to walk to the Rothay Park play area,” Marj said. “The possibility of a new play area was first raised by Emma Brood, and I loved living on Greenbank so much, I wanted to do something special for the community and this seemed ideal.

"I owe enormous thanks to everyone who donated, including local businesses, clubs, shops and various organisations. It was their support, good wishes and goodwill that made it possible.”

Marj also had special thanks for Polly Straker, South Lakeland District Council’s Locality Team Leader, who guided her through the complicated process of grant applications and helped turn a dream into a reality. Among the guests on Saturday were also representatives of the playground’s sponsors who were very impressed to see the new facility.

The ribbon was cut by 10-year-old Leo Price, who was praised for his awareness of health and safety when he picked up a metal construction bolt he had found lying on the ground and took it straight to Marj to give to the contractors.

Opening the play area, SLDC Chairman Stephen Coleman said it was good for the community to have Marj Waddecar, and for also everyone to have put so much effort into the play area themselves: “I think this gives communities a real sense of ownership, so enjoy it - it’s your playground.”

Among the many donors were Ambleside’s two Rotary clubs, Ambleside Sports and Ambleside Masons and the Kelsick Educational Foundation.

Lakes Parish Council also donated including councillors’ allowances and contributions from SLDC district councillors’ allowances, SLDC Locally Important Projects, the Police Commissioner’s Fund, Windermere and Ambleside Lions, the National Lottery Community Fund, the Frieda Scott Trust, the Holehird Trust, Paver Shoes, Uzma Ahmed Opticians, Get Will up a Hill fund and a family fun day.