Footie stars open £85,000 playground

Opening of Smalley playpark. Derby County player Chris Martin, Rhys Sharpe and cllr Martyn Miller.
Opening of Smalley playpark. Derby County player Chris Martin, Rhys Sharpe and cllr Martyn Miller.
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A Smalley playground played host to Derby County football stars to mark its grand opening after an £85,000 refurbishment.

Rams players Chris Martin and Rhys Sharpe joined residents and council officials to mark the opening of the new look park on September 10.

The modern play area was made possible by a grant from UK Coal, which awarded money to many community projects in the area as part of an agreement for its opencast mining near to the village.

Chairman of Smalley Parish Council, Steve Bower, said the new park was something residents of the village were really eager to gain.

He said: “It’s really nice, it looks great.

“And the proof of the pudding is in the amount it’s been used already.”

Mr Bower said the old park consisted of “not a lot more than a couple of broken swings” and has been transformed.

It now features high quality equipment including two zipwires, slides and a multi-use games area (MUGA).

He said: “The MUGA features a netball court with a goal at each end and can be used for any kind of sport.

“There is still also a football pitch adjacent, which is where Rhys Martin used to play as a child.”

The park is also wheelchair-friendly and aims to provide disabled children with equipment to stimulate them physically and mentally.

Mr Bower said: “Hopefully it’ll be there for years to come.”