Children at Ashover Primary School had plenty to smile about as they returned from their summer break to find a sparkling new playground.
Contractors were busy on site all summer with the project, which has seen extensive drainage works, resurfacing, line markings, plus the creation of a football area with built-in goal posts and a netball pitch.
Headteacher Sue Myhill said: “When they came in on the first day back, the children were absolutely blown away. They couldn’t believe their eyes. It was lovely to see.
“They were queuing up for their turn on the football pitch, showing each other where they’d been on holiday using the world map, running around the ‘daily mile’ track, and older pupils were teaching younger ones hopscotch.”
She added: “It’s something the school has been in need of for a long time but we’ve not had the finances to do it. The drains were a problem so there were huge puddles on the surface, which had worn to grit in places.
“We hope the children can be more engaged and creative at playtime, and it will support their physical activity levels.”
The work was largely funded thanks to £20,000 raised by parent-teacher group the Friends of Ashover Primary through a series of money-spinning events and initiatives over the past 12 months.
Sue said: “Thank you to everyone who has volunteered their free time, all the parents and relatives who have contributed and supported us.”
The playground also includes a special area for games of chess, which will be dedicated to former school volunteer Julian Fisher, who died in a road collision last year aged 61.
Sue said: “His children attended the school and he stayed with us, running the chess club and helping on school trips. It was a tragic accident, and we wanted to do something in his memory.”