After more than 2 years of hard work, Aston & Cote Summer Fete (held on Saturday 22 June) was the perfect day for Aston & Cote Community Trust to celebrate the opening of a new playground for the young children of the village. It replaces a play area that was nearly 30 years old and welcomed dozens of youngsters to try out the new play equipment for the first time.
Paul Farrow, the lead fundraiser for the project, was thrilled to see the playground opened to the public: “We’d like to thank everyone involved, including the children of Aston & Cote Church of England Primary School, Aston & Cote Pre-School and Aston & Cote Toddler Group, who drew pictures and wrote letters to the funders explaining why they needed a new playground.”
The opening ceremony for the playground, kindly sponsored by Mears Homes (Foxwood Grove development in Aston), welcomed the many supporters to witness the cutting of the ceremonial ribbon by James Hook, representing P. D. Hook (Hatcheries) Ltd., one of the generous local companies that backed the project. In all, the playground was sponsored by more than 20 different organisations, including local charities Bampton Welfare Trust, Bampton Village Community Shop and Witney Round Table, as well as many community groups. Members of the Community Trust were joined in a toast by Robert Courts MP, and councillors Hilary Fenton (West Oxfordshire District Council), Charles Mathew (Oxfordshire County Council) and John Ordish (Parish Council of Aston, Cote, Chimney and Shifford) – all of the local councils provided significant financial support.
Carolyn Simmonds, Chairwoman of Aston & Cote Community Trust was proud to see her plan come to life: “Thanks to everyone involved, we will finally have great facilities in the village for our younger children, including those with disabilities.”
Dr Farrow added: “We know that playgrounds are one of the best ways of increasing children’s levels of physical activity and we are sure that the new playground will also help with their social development and emotional wellbeing. My young daughters can’t wait to try it out!”
The opening of the playground was part of the village fete celebrations that attract over 300 visitors to Aston & Cote Village Hall each June. With blue skies, great music, fun activities and stalls, this year’s event was a huge success, raising funds to put the finishing touches to the new playground and to support Aston & Cote Church of England Primary School and Aston Youth Football Club. A fantastic day was had by all.