THREE years after the idea of raising cash to upgrade an island’s play parks was suggested, the first has been completed.
A mural depicting a fantasy version of Hayling Island, with palm trees, turtles, plus the familiar roller coaster, was unveiled yesterday at Mengham Play Park.
This is just the start. We could keep going forever.Councillor Leah Turner
It is the culmination of years of hard work by the current mayor of Havant, Leah Turner, Councillor Andy Lenaghan and PC Debbie Surridge who set up the charity Play Parks For Hayling.
In 2013, they asked children on the island how they could improve things for them and their wish was to have better play parks.
The first on the list was Mengham Park, off Norman Road, and the play area was completed last year.
Thanks to funding from South East Hampshire Community Outlook through the Big Lottery, students from Hayling College submitted ideas. Artist Keith Hopewell chose 18 of them to paint.
He spent an entire weekend creating the 45ft-long mural.
He said: ‘It’s an amalgamation of the children’s ideas and my brief was to make a landscape that was friendly, fun and colourful.
‘I separated the landscape from the underwater world and worked it as a wave.
‘There’s a slightly comic, fantasy element to it.
‘It was great because when we finished we went down to the seafront and ate our chips with a lovely Hayling sunset.’
Now Mengham Park is complete PP4H has another project in its sights.
Cllr Turner said: ‘PP4H was set up by Andy, Debbie and me but actually it has been a whole community effort. We are very proud of what’s been achieved so far.
‘It’s been made possible by the generosity of the public and the support of people from places such as Havant Borough Council.
‘We have been asked by the children to renovate the skate park by the Inn on the Beach so we’re now looking for funding for that.
‘This is just the start. We could keep going forever.’
To make a donation go to playparksforhayling.co.uk