THE long-awaited opening of a playground, refurbished thanks to the fundraising efforts of villagers, took place at the weekend.

Villagers, councillors and special guests gathered on Sunday (July 17) in Staveley for the grand opening of the new playground, which is owned by Staveley Village Association.

The Westmorland Gazette: People gathered to celebrate the opening of the new playgroundPeople gathered to celebrate the opening of the new playground

The playground required a major refurbishment after it fell into a state of disrepair in October.

And to make the transformation a reality the community came together to fundraise, raising a whopping £126,000 through local business donations, grants and events.

Jenny Blackburn, from Staveley Village Association said: “It was a lovely warm day and there was a massive turn out.

“We are hugely grateful to all the businesses and individuals who donated or helped with fundraising events.”

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The new playground is full of equipment for a wide age range of children, including large climbing boulders of local stone, an obstacle course, a hammock, swings, slides and much more.

“Staveley is a very outdoorsy, adventurous village in the Lake District and we wanted a playground that reflected that,” said Ms Blackburn.

“It was so important to us for local children to have somewhere fun to play together outdoors, especially after the isolation and time spent indoors during the lockdowns.”

The Westmorland Gazette: Children opened Staveley's new playground on SundayChildren opened Staveley's new playground on Sunday

The grand opening saw residents put on a huge BBQ, with ice cream, candy floss, music and lots of community stalls.

There was a procession through the village led by Staveley Samba Band, and Staveley Village Association gave all the children at Staveley CE Primary School a free BBQ meal.

School children cut the ribbon and revealed a large sign with a list of the businesses and funding bodies who generously donated.

The Westmorland Gazette: Lots of people turned out for the openingLots of people turned out for the opening

The village was joined by special guest Precious McKenzie MBE and MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale Tim Farron.