Play on, children- the park's finished

THE hustle and bustle of the centre of Great Yarmouth was just a background hum amid gleeful shouts of children and the sound of music drifting away on the breeze.

THE hustle and bustle of the centre of Great Yarmouth was just a background hum amid gleeful shouts of children and the sound of music drifting away on the breeze.

All that was missing was some spring sunshine at the official opening of St George's Park.

Pride has been restored to the Victorian park with the complet-ion of the £2.5m transformation.

And the success of the venture was plain to see as youngsters clambered around eagerly at the new play area.

Fun activities had been provided for the groups of toddlers, and Ormesby Junior Village School orchestra played along to add to the sense of occasion.

Mayor Terry Easter made a short speech at the ceremony on Friday before cutting the ribbon to declare the park officially reopened.

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He said: “The park belongs to the community, and it was important they were involved with its transformation. The playground is very well used, and with more planting and seeding the park will get better and better.”

Jim Shrimplin, a councillor and chairman of the Cleaner, Greener, Safer board, said people using the park could feel safer after the introduction of CCTV cameras.

Norfolk County Council chairman Wyndham Northam described the park as a hidden gem in the heart of town that was shining again as a reflection of the renewed optimism in the town.

A dedication was performed by Canon Michael Woods at the war memorial to the soldiers who had sacrificed their lives in two world wars, as well as present-day members of the armed forces.

The park has been redesigned to become an oasis of calm, with meandering pathways, herba-ceous borders and rose beds.

A woodcarving of England's patron saint by Bungay sculptor Mark Goldsworthy was created as a centrepiece for the park, which is intended to be part of a

green corridor stretching from the sea to the quay.

The work was funded with a £2.1m award from the Cleaner Greener Safer initiative to the borough council, with a further £500,000 being provided by the county council to improve adjoining roads.

Among those soaking up the atmosphere was Margaret Young and her great grandchildren Jake, Scott and baby Harley. She said: “The park is brilliant: it is lovely for the kids, and my great- grandchildren love the new play area. I would just like to see some toilets here.”

Tina Kelly lives close to the park, which she visits with children Lucas, two, and four-month-old Lexi. She said: “The new play area is very popular. Lucas is a typical two-year-old and loves clambering about there.”

The words of praise were echoed by mum Liza Cooper, with youngsters Aimee, four and Santi, seven months, who said the park was so much better than it was before.

Later, civic dignitaries climbed on board the road train to head to the Golden Mile for the unveiling of the latest stage of the

£2.5m seafront regeneration.

The pomp has been put into Marine Parade after the extension of the Broadway slow lane for landaus and cyclists southwards to King's Road along with new pedestrian crossings, high-quality paving and landscape planting.

To add rhyme and rhythm to the occasion, pupils from Greenacre First and Middle School

recited specially-written poems celebrating Yarmouth's status as a major seaside resort.