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Family's gift makes children happy

PUBLISHED: 07:52 21 May 2008 | UPDATED: 08:58 13 July 2010

A ONCE-empty playing field is filling up with activity equipment for children of all ages, thanks to a village family's generosity and the efforts of a community project group.

A ONCE-empty playing field is filling up with activity equipment for children of all ages, thanks to a village family's generosity and the efforts of a community project group.

Play apparatus for toddlers and primary school children was officially opened at Cawston's Oakes Family Field on Sunday.

The equipment, in two separate areas of the eight-and-a-half acre field, follows the earlier installation of a hard surface and basketball hoop for teenagers.

Villagers joined members of the Oakes family for a tree-planting ceremony to mark the two latest additions and thank waste management company Biffa, which donated £40,000, and Broadland District Council, which gave £10,000 towards costs. The equipment was also funded through donations and local money-spinning events.

The field was given to the village 10 years ago by brothers Don and David Oakes. Don's widow Eileen joined David to plant an oak tree near the site of the new toddlers' play area.

Mr Oakes told those at the ceremony that he was pleased things had started to happen on the land. He added: “We hope everybody in Cawston will thoroughly enjoy this playing field.”

The project group, launched last year, is made up of representatives from Cawston Parish Council, the Oakes Memorial Trust and local group Cawston We Aim Higher (CWAH).

In 2006 a group of teenagers from CWAH secured a £48,000 grant from the Norfolk Youth Fund to start developing facilities on the field for their age group. A further grant from the Big Lottery is expected in the autumn to pay for BMX and skate ramps, a youth shelter and zip wire.

Karen Wells, project team member and vice chairman of the Oakes Memorial Trust, said everyone involved in developing the field felt proud of their achievements.

She added: “The kids had nowhere to play and nowhere to go before. Now there are children here everyday.” The field is also used by Cawston's football and cricket teams.

·Cawston Historical Society is staging an open day in the village hall today, May 22, between 2pm-5pm, and 7pm-9pm. Entry is free, refreshments will be available and documents, photographs and memorabilia will be on display. Visitors are urged to bring along any items of local historical interest.


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