HRH Countess of Wessex opens new play parks at Wittering

Image Testing the new slide. Rhianna Pollard stands immediately to the right of the Countess.

New play parks in Wittering village, paid for by the RAF Benevolent Fund, were opened by Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex today (24 Apr).

2019 is the centenary of the RAF Benevolent Fund which provides real life support to RAF personnel, their families and veterans in need. The refurbished play parks have been funded by the RAF Benevolent Fund and the £196K grant is the largest to have been given this year.

Children from the village produced colourful and imaginative designs, which were given to Proludic UK to turn into a reality. The play parks have been completely renewed, with the main area on St. George’s Road fitted with a brand-new surface, zip wire, climbing frame and timber features. 

Image shows Children from Wittering Primary School waiting for HRH The Countess of Wessex.
Children from Wittering Primary School waiting for HRH The Countess of Wessex.
Image HRH cuts the ribbon and declares the playpark open.
HRH cuts the ribbon and declares the playpark open.
Image HRH meets some of the children, Hannah Avery is holding the posy.
HRH meets some of the children, Hannah Avery is holding the posy.

Over 200 children from Wittering Primary School greeted The Countess with a wave of enthusiastic cheers as she arrived to declare the park officially open. Her Royal Highness was presented with flowers by Hannah Avery, a pupil from Wittering Primary School and an active member of the Airplay youth club. 

Rhianna Pollard is chairperson of the youth committee and enjoyed meeting the Countess. Rhianna said: ”She was really nice and got along with children well and was very impressed with the playpark and was really interested in the young people in general.”

”She was really nice and got along with children well and was very impressed with the playpark and was really interested in the young people in general.”

Image shows one of the children from Wittering Primary School tests out the new monkey bars.
One of the children from Wittering Primary School tests out the new monkey bars.

Daniel Baxter is a play designer at Proludic UK and worked closely with the children, turning their ideas into a reality. He said: “Their energy and sense of fun was an inspiration to drive the project forward with their creative ideas and drawing skills.”

Since 2015 the RAF Benevolent Fund has given over £400K in grants to Royal Air Force Wittering personnel, including welfare breaks, grants to help with financial difficulty and help with mobility inside and outside the home.

Regional Director Mark Quinn said: “Airplay is the RAF Benevolent Fund’s flagship youth support scheme, supporting thousands of young people living on RAF stations. We know life can sometimes be tough for military families, with parents being deployed and moving around regularly, that’s why the Fund provides play parks like these.”

After declaring the new park open, Her Royal Highness went on to meet members of RAF Wittering’s community team, the RAF Benevolent Fund and Proludic UK. 

Image HRH looks at the designs for the play park.
HRH looks at the designs for the play park.

The Countess was escorted by Group Captain Tony Keeling, Station Commander at Royal Air Force Wittering. He said: “It’s been an honour to have Her Royal Highness here with us today, these new parks are wonderful, and they can be enjoyed by all the young people who live in Wittering, they are intended for the whole village.”

Group Captain Keeling concluded: “For the last hundred years, the RAF Benevolent Fund has stood shoulder to shoulder with those who serve their country and has been helping personnel and their families in their time of need. We at RAF Wittering are exceptionally fortunate to have their support for this important project.”

RAF Wittering
RAF Benevolent Fund

Images © Crown copyright 2019

Top image: Testing the new slide. Rhianna Pollard stands immediately to the right of the Countess.

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