Zip-a-dee-doo-dah day at last for Mundesley play park

Mums, dads and even North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb joined dozens of children for a celebratory scoot along the zip wire at the opening of a seaside village's long-awaited play facilities.

Crowds gathered in Mundesley's Gold Park yesterday where �30,000 of new equipment was officially opened by Mr Lamb including the zip wire, a play tractor, tunnel slide, net climbing frame, nest swings and a revamped mound and tunnel.

Mr Lamb made it safely to journey's end on his dare-devil glide - but was full of admiration for the project committee which had to pick itself up, dust itself down and start all over again after their play-park dreams came off the funding rails last year.

Mundesley Youth and Community's scheme was among a dozen Norfolk playground projects which suffered severe setbacks when a promised �47,000 apiece from the national Playbuilder scheme was frozen ahead of the government's spending review.

Scheme leaders decided to press on and try to provide something for disappointed Mundesley children by redoubling their fund-raising efforts and were boosted late last year when Norfolk County Council gave them �27,000 from a �337,000 government pot to be shared between the 12 affected schemes.

'Last summer this play park looked like it wasn't going to happen because of the funding situation. They went through a really difficult time after putting so much effort into it,' said Mr Lamb.

'I've been really impressed. They didn't complain and give up - they fought back. Everyone was clearly determined they were going to make it happen. The strong community spirit here is really admirable and to see this project completed is fantastic.'

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Amanda Ng , joint chairman of Mundesley Youth and Community, said that unless children were surfers, there was not much for them to do in the village and over the years many people had tried to provide them with better play facilities.

The new park had been open for about three weeks ahead of the official ceremony and there were regularly about 30 children there using the facilities.

'I didn't know Mundesley had so many children! One woman who has lived here for 40 years told me she had never seen it so busy,' said Mrs Ng.

The park is the first stage of an ambitious �600,000 three-part project by the group which also wants to build a skatepark, and a multi-use games area with a community centre in Mundesley.

They hope to hear in August whether a �50,000 application to the Big Lottery's Community Spaces fund has been successful towards the �80,000 skatepark. If so, it will be built in time for Christmas.

Local fund-raisers, including a black-tie ball at Mundesley's Manor Hotel earlier this month, had already brought in about half of the top-up �30,000 needed for the project, according to Mrs Ng.

At present, skateboarders used car parks, pavements and streets or had to travel to the nearest purpose-built parks in North Walsham, Norwich or Yarmouth.

She said the new facilities would also benefit children from surrounding villages, and young holidaymakers to the area.

* The group's next fund-raiser is an auction at Mundesley's Haig Club on March 26 from 7.30pm.