FAMILIES joined Sunderland AFC stars to celebrate the opening of a new £217,000 play park and outdoor gym.
The ribbon on the new attraction in Seaham was cut by the town’s mayor, Councillor Brian Allen, alongside Black Cats’ players David Meyler and Nedum Onuoha, in front of 500 local schoolchildren.
The Station Road development, was designed with the help of students from Seaham School of Technology.
It has various attractions for kids, including the Vellum, an exciting new slide and the only one of its kind in the North East.
The Big Lottery Fund provided £67,000 towards the cost of the park, with £67,000 from Durham County Council, £49,056 from Play Builder Fund and the remaining £50,000 from Seaham Town Council.
It had been feared that the project could fall victim to cuts. However, it is one of 13 schemes in County Durham to benefit from £600,000 Government cash.
Other parks to benefit from the cash include Waldridge Village near Chester-le-Street and Hawthorn Village.
Coun Allen said: “It’s one of the best play parks in the North East. We’ve also got the gym for the adults.
“We hope that the youngsters look after it when they’re a bit older. Let’s keep it in good working order for the people of Seaham. It’s open to everybody.
“It’s definitely a good thing for Seaham. Other towns don’t have facilities as good as this”
Suzanne Oxley, Seaham School of Technology pupil voice co-ordinator, said: “The kids were involved in the process of looking at the designs that were put forward and had a say in what was built.
“They absolutely loved it.
“These are the kids who will use this place. Hopefully this will give them a sense of ownership of the park and respect it.
“They showed a very mature attitude and it has actually improved their behaviour.”
Year nine student Sean Atkinson, 13, said: “There were four options to pick from and we had to make the choice. There were four students and some governors at the meetings before Christmas.
“We picked this one because it looked the most fun and the most enjoyable for all ages. We hope everybody likes it.”
Afterwards, Meyler Tweeted about the event on social networking site Twitter, saying: “Just finished an event at Seaham Park.
“Nedum and I had to cut the ribbon to the new playground. Was good fun, must have been 150 kids there, happy to help out. I really enjoyed it.”