Barefoot Norman Lamb joins Roughton children in the sandpit

Off came the socks and shoes and it was straight into the sandpit – North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb included – at this afternoon's official opening of new facilities for Roughton Under Fives' Playgroup.

Mr Lamb did the honours by cutting a ribbon which let dozens of excited children in to join him among �30,000 worth of improvements to the playgroup's home and outdoor play area, in the grounds of Roughton Primary School, near Cromer.

The government-funded work has seen a former classroom converted for use by two to four-year-olds, including a kitchen and a wet-play area for maximum messy fun, according to playgroup chairman Chloe Bennett.

But it was the new adventure playground, bathed in sunshine, which had Mr Lamb frolicking alongside playgroup children and the school's 40 pupils.

A dull, flat area of grass has been transformed to include a mound with slide, sandpit, climbing frame, planting bed, shady area, balance equipment, Wendy house and track for play vehicles.

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'They love it. They just can't wait to get out and play,' said Mrs Bennett. The playgroup is open five mornings a week and has 14 children on its books.

Before the ceremony, Mr Lamb spent 45 minutes with the school children who had put together a This is Your Life-style presentation about him, which they followed with a question and answer session in which they learned that his hobbies were cycling and Indian cookery.

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