An appeal has been launched to replace a condemned play park which was created in memory of a nursery school girl who died in a tragic accident.
Aleisha Ord was knocked down by a bus the day before her fourth birthday 16 years ago.
As her family and community grieved, they turned their attentions to build a play park in her memory, raising £25,000 to build the area, with the official launch led by her sister Ameila on her own fourth birthday.
But now, the park has been so well used it is past its best, with the area closed off to children because it is falling apart.
It is used by up to 140 nursery children each school day and is much loved by those who attend The Ribbon Academy in Murton, where it was moved to from an earlier site when the new school was built.
Her family have launched a fresh campaign to raise at least £15,000 to cover the cost of a new park to honour Aleisha’s memory and give futurew generations somewhere to have fun with their families and friends.
Aleisha’s mum Michelle, 47, who works as a receptionist at the school, is also mum to Ethan, 13, as well as Amelia, 14, and is married to John, 50.
She says she wants her daughter’s memory “to live on in the laughter of other children.”
Michelle added: “When we lost the bairn, we said we wanted to do something for Aleisha.
“Within a few says we’d raised £800 and when £25,000 came through, we were over the moon.
“It helped keep Aleisha’s memory alive.
“But now it can no longer be repaired and we need something new because it’s been condemned.
“The headteacher took me aside and told me that it’s no longer safe, she wanted me to hear it from her, and that’s very emotional for us, but it’s reached the end of its life.
“The nursery children have loved playing on it.”
The Crowdfunding page set up to gather funds has already raised £895, with Murton Parish Council pledging £5,000 towards the cost.
An initial target of £15,000 has been set, but it is hoped much more than that can be collected to make the park the best it can be.
Donations to the first campaign came from across East Durham and Wearside, but also as far away as the USA and New Zealand, which led to lasting friendships being forged between supporters and the Ords.
Michelle said she has already been “overwhelmed by the support and kindness of others” by the initial response to her call, made more poignant Aleisha would have marked her 20th birthday this month.
The inquest into her death heard Aleisha, who was “wrapped in cotton wool” by her loving family, was knocked down by a slow-moving bus in Burnip Road in her home village.
She had only just been allowed to play with other youngsters by her protective parents and had been playing on a field near her gran’s when the tragedy happened.
The park appeal is being supported by her cousin Lindsey Ord, 31, a nursery worker at Little Waves in Seaham.
Events in the pipeline for the fund include a concert at the Glebe Centre in Murton, with people also planning bake sales and a sponsored climb on Scarfell Pike
Lindsey said: “We just want the memory of our beautiful princess to live in and for the children of our community to benefit from this.”.
The Crowdfunding page for the campaign can be found via http://bit.ly/2qVVV4z