Jake Humphrey opens new playground at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

Jake Humphrey opens the new playground at the N&N Hospital. Pictured with his daughter Florence.Pict

Jake Humphrey opens the new playground at the N&N Hospital. Pictured with his daughter Florence.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Sports presenter Jake Humphrey has returned to the hospital where his son was born to officially open a new £80,000 playground.

The Norfolk-based face of BT Sport's football coverage said the updated playground, in a courtyard near the paediatric department at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, was 'fantastic'.

It was built and funded by the hospital charity, through donations from organisations and individuals, and used ideas from children and staff in the children's department.

It includes a pavilion where children who are at the hospital for a long time can have classes, or teenagers can sit and talk, and distorting mirrors, play towers, a spinner, seating, and landscaping to promote a sense of playfulness and adventure.

Mr Humphrey said the previous playground has been 'totally uninspired', said his family's eyes lit up when they saw what had taken its place.

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'It's a chance for them to just stop and not think about their treatment, and have some fun. How great, right in the middle of the hospital. You don't expect it here,' he said.

The new facility has already received a thumbs up from the Skinner family from Hellesdon.

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They helped to raise money for it after their son Miles spent first three weeks of his life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, before going on to spend seven-and-a-half weeks on Buxton Children's Ward.

His mum Stacey said the playground was built with children, young and old, and teenagers in mind, as well being accessible for people hooked up to equipment, or using wheelchairs.

She said: 'Coming out and having a bit of air makes a big difference. I think even for older kids, they can come here and it gets them out of the same four walls.'

Louise Cook, fundraising manager for the hospital, said the project started off about 18 months ago, when colleagues said the existing playground did not seem stimulating enough. She added: 'Parents say how much of an improvement it is. They feel brilliant about it – that's everyone's feedback. There's genuine excitement. We have kids running around here having fun.'

To find out more about how to raise funds for the hospital, contact Louise Cook on 01603 287107.

Do you have a health story for the Evening News? Email our health correspondent nicholas.carding@archant.co.uk

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