Countess of Wessex Opens New Play Parks

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

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 £196,000 grant is the largest to have been given this year.

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.”

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.

Children from the village produced colourful and imaginative designs, which were given to Proludic UK to turn into a reality. Daniel Baxter, Proludic UK play designer, 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.”

Over 200 children from Wittering Primary School greeted The Countess 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, Chair of the Youth Committee, enjoyed meeting the Countess. She said: “She was very impressed with the play park and really interested in the young people in general.” 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.

The Countess was escorted by Wittering’s Station Commander, Group Captain Tony Keeling. 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.”

He added: “For the last 100 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. RAF Wittering is exceptionally fortunate to have had their support for this important project.”