THE tireless work of a determined band of volunteers has been rewarded with the opening of an impressive £73,000 play park for Bellingham.

The Friends of Bellingham Playground Development Project group has held various fund-raising events over the last two years to ensure the children of the area have a play park they can be proud of.

And they celebrated achieving that target with an official opening ceremony at the weekend, inviting members of the community, sponsors and funders for a special lunch at the adjacent fire station.

The previous park, on the same site, faced criticism a few years ago for being inadequate despite £21,000 being spent on new equipment.

This prompted project chairman, retired plumber Les Mole, to rally the troops to provide something that the children would love.

By working hard, the group has provided equipment for children of all ages, including a zip wire, climbing frame, roundabout, swings and slides.

Mr Mole said: “It opened for the May Bank Holiday and it has been used morning and night ever since.

“All the hard work has paid off and we have had nothing but good feedback from the parents and children, and that is what it is all about.

“Parents are telling us that their children are rushing home after school to use it, and we think it will be a play area the village can be proud of for years to come.

“When you come over the bridge into Bellingham, you see the park combined with the Jubilee Field next to it and I think it will attract a lot of people to it.”

The park was opened by local county councillor John Riddle who significantly boosted the funding pot through his small schemes allowance.