Yo Ho Ho And A Barrel Of Fun!

Yo Ho Ho and a barrel of fun – that’s what you would have found (and more) at Wyton-on-the-Hill on Tuesday 25th March!

The new pirate themed playpark, the latest in a number of new developments on Wyton Community Street was opened by Wg Cdr Ola Fashade, CO RAF Wyton HQ with the help of civic dignitaries and some very happy and excited children.

Councillor Barbara Boddington, Chairman of Huntingdonshire District Council and Noel Baker, chairman of the Wyton-on-the-Hill Parish Council were both delighted to come along and help formally open the play park which was built using Armed Forces Community Covenant funding. Both are enthusiastic supporters of the Covenant which establishes links between local authorities and the armed forces.

Located on Cornwall Road the playpark is open to both military and civilian families living at Wytonon- the-Hill. Complete with rubber safety surfacing the playpark cost £69,000 and was constructed within a three month timeframe which included removing the old and dilapidated equipment. Designed and installed by Proludic Ltd the area includes the ‘Wyton shipwreck’ incorporating climbing frames and slide, a pod swing for up to 8 children, a compass roundabout, nautical ‘springers’ and a beach hut – all in and around a sea of shark infested waters!

Rob Baker, National Sales Manager for the company said: “In the last few years we have installed about 40 playparks on military bases, initially through RAF Benevolent Fund projects and more recently in conjunction with Community Covenant grants. The best part of the job for me is being invited to this type of event and seeing all the smiling children. The company specialises in themed parks, recognising how important it is to fuel children’s imaginations. Personally I love the pirate theme – it doesn’t always have to be about planes!”

Soon-to-be 4 years old Hermione Jenkins had a wonderful time playing on the equipment and especially in the giant swing. Hermione’s mum Laura commented “It makes such a difference being able to bring the children to places like this. It is so much better than what was here before, everything looks fantastic.”

WO Don MacLarty, SCSO was the driving force behind the plan and explained: “It has been a huge amount of hard work to get to this stage but seeing the children here today reminds us all why this sort of project is so important.” Councillor Boddington commented “I am thrilled to see this project come to life. It is so important for children to have fun in a safe environment and for parents to share their enjoyment and meet other families.”

Having recently taken command of RAF Wyton HQ Wg Cdr Fashade was very impressed with the project and thanked Huntingdonshire District Council and Wyton-on-the-Hill Parish Council for their support. He also said: “These parks are really important to our community especially when Service families are often faced with a parent being away from home deployed on operational commitments. They provide a safe environment  where children can meet and develop new friendships.”

The playpark is just one aspect of the Community Street which is a mix of commercial and Station provided facilities. There is already a thriving Thrift Shop, Youth Club and Parents and Toddlers group and the next phase will see a hairdressers and beautician opening in the summer with lots of other exciting ideas in the pipeline.

A plan to provide similar play facilities at Brampton SFA is already on the drawing board and a bid for funding will be made through the Armed Forces Community Covenant scheme.

The Armed Forces Covenant

The Covenant aims to encourage local organisations to support the local Armed Forces community and to make it easier for Service personnel, families and veterans to access all the support and help available to them. The scheme is intended as a two way arrangement and the Armed Forces community are encouraged to do as much as they can to support their community and to promote activity which helps to integrate Service personnel into civilian life.