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Saints day reopening park

PUBLISHED: 17:21 24 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:56 03 July 2010

Liz Coates

The grand re-opening of St George's Park on St George's Day had been planned with military precision.

But it was with cruel promptness that the first drops of rain fell just as a tide of whooping children swamped the nautical-themed play area for the first time.

The grand re-opening of St George's Park on St George's Day had been planned with military precision.

But it was with cruel promptness that the first drops of rain fell just as a tide of whooping children swamped the nautical-themed play area for the first time.

Within minutes the assembled dignitaries, councillors, officials and invited guests had bolted for cover - but not before an impressive woodcarving of England's patron dragon slayer had been unveiled.

Although the year-long refurbishment programme aimed at “reclaiming” the park from street drinkers and creating a “green corridor” from sea to quay is not quite finished, the borough council was keen to mark its makeover on St Georges Day.

A CCTV camera is trained on the woodcarving created by Bungay sculptor Mark Goldsworthy who studied at the nearby former College of Art and Design, and police are stepping up patrols to deter vandals.

County councillor John Holmes whose ward includes the park and who is vice chairman of the board that oversaw the project said the aim was to achieve Green Flag status for Great Yarmouth. He said most of the £2.4m project costs had been spent on road improvements and the play area which came in at £70,000.

He added that the aim was to bring the two sides of the park together with traffic moving slowly between them as in some of the London parks.

Earlier in the day children from St Georges First School choir sang out their appreciation and BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Tony Mallion read extracts from Cantley the Sugar Dragon at the Circus by local author David Stannard.

All the children taking part in the ceremony will receive a copy of the book including four of the best entrants to a Mercury competition to design the safety surfacing Sophie and Charlie Gates and Charlotte and Leanne Delay.

Meanwhile workmen expect to be on site until May 23 - the official opening day when it is hoped the sun will beam down its approval.

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