Determined mum's successful mission for new play equipment

Charlotte Farnworth

Mrs Farnworth's daughter, Charlotte, five, is among the youngsters from Beetley looking forward to the new play area. - Credit: Eleanor Farnworth

When Eleanor Farnworth saw that her village’s climbing frame had been removed, and realised nothing would be replacing it, she decided that wasn’t good enough - and raised more than £70,000 to replace it. 

“It started off by trying to get something small in its place,” said Mrs Farnworth, who lives in Beetley, near Dereham. 

The mother of two quickly found enormous support from the local community. 

By organising a Beetley Christmas tree festival, a pumpkin trail and online cake auction, along with other fundraisers, and donations from villagers and businesses, the Beetley River Meadows play area group raised more than £10,500.

“This meant we could apply for the remainder from the [National] Lottery [Fund], which meant we got £60,000.

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“It will be a brand spanking new play park by Christmas. 

“So it was quite a big thing, but it wasn’t me on my own, it was lots of us that did it, so I can’t take all the glory, it was a community effort.”

Eleanor Farnworth

Eleanor Farnworth was determined to ensure that the new play equipment was accessible to children of all abilities and needs. - Credit: Eleanor Farnworth

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Even more impressively, the new play equipment will be specially designed to be accessible for all children. 

“I have a disabled child myself, so when we designed it, I was really determined that it would be for everyone,” said Mrs Farnworth. 

“The climbing frame has been custom-made so it’s got ramp access and it’s got a double-width slide so you can go down next to a carer. 

“It’s got a roll-on, roll-off roundabout. And it’s got lots of sensory bits in there - spinning poles and lots of play panels on the wall.

Mrs Farnworth's two children: Charlotte (five) and Freddy (nine).

Mrs Farnworth's two children: Charlotte (five) and Freddy (nine). - Credit: Supplied by Eleanor Farnworth

“It doesn’t matter if you’re not able-bodied, you can still be in there and be with people your age.

“Hopefully it will be a place that everyone can access, and hopefully people will hear on the grapevine that that’s a good one to go to.” 

Mrs Farnworth, who runs a business from home, is also heavily involved with the Friends of St Mary’s School and has helped the committee raise £4,600 over the last year, having organised and run both the children’s Christmas event ‘Buy a Gift’, and the annual Beetley community yard sale.

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