Emsworth play park is refurbished in memory of much-loved wife and mum Verity Turner

A new play park refurbished in memory of a local mum is now open at Emsworth Recreation Ground.

By Toby Paine
Thursday, 30th December 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Thursday, 30th December 2021, 12:15 pm
How the park looks now
Picture: Havant Borough Council
How the park looks now Picture: Havant Borough Council

Havant Borough Council and charity Verity’s Gift have funded the new play park which offers inclusive play for children of all abilities.

The £85,000 project was funded through the Community Infrastructure Levy, Section 106 developers’ contributions, community donations and funds raised by Verity’s Gift.

The charity was set up in memory of the founder George Turner’s wife Verity, who died in 2018 from a subarachnoid haemorrhage.

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George Turner with his daughter Harriet Picture: Habibur Rahman

Mr Turner, who is better known as Topsy, said: ‘This has been a long time in the making and to finally see it finished is quite overwhelming.

‘I was in there as Father Christmas a couple of days ago before Christmas and the children are loving it, they’re just going nuts.

‘My little girl who’s seven now, she was three when we lost mum, she absolutely loved it.

‘Verity used to take Harriet there all the time and to say it was run down is an understatement.

How the park used to look Picture: Havant Borough Council

‘When Verity died, I set up my charity which is Verity’s Gift because Verity was one of life's givers, there were 600 people at her funeral - she was well-loved because she gave so much.

‘The first project for my charity was to raise money for the play area.

'I just thought we had to do something to that park because it was one of the only places Harriet would smile after we lost mum.

‘This is truly an amazing legacy in honour of Verity and on behalf of the trustees of Verity’s Gift, we are so happy to see this project complete.

George Turner and his late wife, Verity

‘We would like to thank everybody that somehow contributed towards the play park.’

Councillor Gwen Robinson, Havant Borough Council’s cabinet lead for affordable housing, communities and CIL, said: ‘It was wonderful to see the new play park open and ready for children in time for Christmas.

‘The park looks fantastic and it will be a great way for young families to enjoy some fresh air and exercise.

‘Thank you also to Verity’s Gift which did so much to get this worthwhile project off the ground.’

The design was influenced by the public during a consultation in October 2020, and an official opening event is planned for January 29th.

Contributions from the community included donations from: J Pritchard Trust, Treagust's Butchers, The Emsworth Residents Association, Emsworth Co-op, Cafe Moka, Rowlands Castle Golf Club, Jonathon Ditton Salons and Vin Wines.