CHILDREN and their parents in Fremington are celebrating a fantastic effort from their local councils, community and businesses to secure the £100,000 needed for a new play area. The icing on the cake for the Fremington and District Community Development

CHILDREN and their parents in Fremington are celebrating a fantastic effort from their local councils, community and businesses to secure the £100,000 needed for a new play area.The icing on the cake for the Fremington and District Community Development Group was when local county councillor Rodney Cann told them he had managed to win £60,000 for the project from money available following the sale of Exeter Airport.This news came hot on the heels of a £35,000 Lottery grant made possible by North Devon District Council and the project has received huge support from Fremington Parish Council and local businesses. The group has raised £7,000 through community events."This group has really galvanised the community," said Cllr Cann, "better than anything I have ever seen in all the time I have been a councillor."There's a definite need for this -Fremington is one of the largest parishes in North Devon and a survey found there were some 500 kids here under the age of 16."Frank Biederman from the development group said the play facilities - next to the Beechfield Centre - would contain an exciting array of equipment to cater for children of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers. "A lot of it will be suitable for children with disabilities, too - it's going to be very innovative and as weather proof as we can make it," he said."We have worked with Fremington School, the Children's Hospice and the local church groups to discover what they would like there." He said all involved were thrilled to reach their goal in just 18 months since the project began."Our target was £100,000 and to reach it is unbelievable. I don't think any of us ever dreamt that would happen," he said.The seed was planted when parents went to a parish council meeting, where chairman David Jury and the councillors suggested they form a community group.From four members they now have 13, including Mr Jury and council clerk Jane Mills, plus 220 local families have registered their interest in the new play area. Local district councillors Dick Jones and John Gill provided grants from their own budgets.The project went out to tender and children from Fremington School were asked to vote on their favourite design."Hopefully work can begin in the next three months," said Mr Biederman."There's a bit more to do because ultimately we want to make it almost completely weather-proof."This really has been a community effort and thank you to the councillors, businesses and everyone in Fremington who has made it possible."On Sunday, Fremington Manor will be hosting Party at the Manor from noon until 5pm, featuring music from top local musicians including Amy Newton, Company of Fools and the Oggle Band. Proceeds will go the Beechfield Park project plus Fremington Manor Comfort Fund and the Church Youth Worker project. Tickets from outlets in Fremington and Bickington, on the gate or call Frank on 07856 858602 or Jo on 07846 473307.