HRH THE Duke of Kent will officially reopen new sports and play facilities in Barford.
A working group was formed at the start of 2014 looking at ways to raise money for a new children’s play area and a multi-use games area at King George’s Field.
Over the past two years, members have put in more than 2,500 hours and raised almost £500,000 to help make the project a reality.
Around a third of the total has been raised by people in the Barford, Sherbourne and Wasperton community while grants have also come from organisations including Sport England, Barford Community Charity, Barford, Sherbourne and Wasperton Joint Parish Council, St Peter’s School Trust, and Barford WI.
Construction began in September 2015 and despite wet weather during the winter, the works are due to be completed in time for the opening on May 4.
HRH The Duke of Kent is a grandchild of Queen Mary and King George V – after whom the playing field is named – and his visit coincides with the 79th anniversary of the coronation of King George VI and The Queen’s 90th birthday.
The official tour will start at 11.30am and includes a visit to Barford Village Community Shop as well as a special lunch for invited guests.
Mark Griffin, leader of the working group, said: “Everyone who has invested time on this project is immensely proud and incredibly honoured HRH The Duke of Kent has agreed to open the refurbished King George’s Field.
“It’s very pleasing he will be visiting our community shop, which through Barford Community Charity, has contributed more than £60,000 and helped us start our fund-raising journey.
“We are all very excited about the visit and can’t wait for the facilities to be open and available for everyone. They will be an outstanding asset providing people with somewhere to participate in a number of different sports.”
Ahead of the official reopening, a celebration day is being held at the fields on Sunday May 1 from noon until 6pm.
There will be a range of games and activities on offer and the community is invited to bring a picnic to share the success with neighbours and friends.
To mark the end of the project, children under 16 who are at the celebration day and live in the villages of Barford, Sherbourne and Wasperton as well as every pupil at St Peter’s Primary School will be given a King George’s Field commemorative medal.
Mr Griffin added: “The community has provided substantial support to this project for the last two years, and this is a chance to thank people for their hard work helping get us to where we are today.”
The use of King George’s Field will be overseen by the recently formed Barford Sports Club.
Visit www.barfordplayingfields.org for further details.
Fun and games – left to right – Mark Griffin and Roger Clay from the Joint Parish Council Working Group with Barford St Peter’s Primary School headteacher Annette Delaney and three pupils. (s)