Church replica is centrepiece of new pub play area at Barton Bendish, near Downham Market

It may sound like a blatant breach of the health and safety rule book – young visitors being positively encouraged to slide down a church tower in the name of fun.

But the clipboard brigade needn't worry because the tower has been designed and built with children in mind and is the centrepiece of a new play area at a village pub in Barton Bendish, near Downham Market.

The couple who run the Berney Arms decided the usual array of outdoor play equipment wasn't unusual enough, so they commissioned an exact replica of the nearby church tower at St Andrew's.

King's Lynn company Flights of Fantasy was called in to transform the idea into reality and the tower will be officially opened by South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss on July 10 during a free children's tea party.

Sue and Phil Hirst are stamping their mark on the pub which they had run before, left four years ago and then returned last year to take up the helm once more.

'We wanted something unique and lovely for the children to play on - and it's certainly that,' said Mrs Hirst.

'You can see the church tower from the garden, and ours has been installed in direct line with it – just so you can compare the two,' she added.

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The village pub already has quirky features – including rainbow-coloured picnic tables – and the play area is following suit.

'We wanted it to be different and thought the tower would be a great idear,' said Mr Hirst.

Flights of Fantasy, of North Lynn, has a reputation for play equipment and tree houses with a difference, and managing director Russell Bowlby has travelled the world installing every child's dream.

'It took around 200 hours to complete and we are really pleased with it,' he said.

The church tower is not the only fun children will enjoy – an old bicycle has been converted to an ice cream seller's stand.

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