CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating the completion of a new £56,000 children’s playground – 25 years after the idea was first put forward.

The equipment has been installed at Copythorne Parish Hall following a two-year fundraising campaign spearheaded by two mums, Holly Green and Laurie Gibbs.

Members of the Friends of Copythorne Playground (FOCP) were joined by 150 other people at the opening ceremony.

Over the past two years children and parents in the area have held a raft of fundraising events to make their dream become a reality, including a bike ride and a cake bake.

New Forest District Council made a £23,000 contribution to the project and nearby Paultons Park donated £10,000.

Simon Lucas, vice-chairman of Copythorne Parish Council and a member of FCOP, said previous attempts to provide a playground had been defeated by various issues, including problems in identifying a suitable site.

He added: “The project’s ultimate success is down to the sheer determination of Holly and Laurie, who dug their heels in and didn’t give up.”

The opening ceremony was sponsored by Le Chateau, a newly-opened restaurant in Romsey Road, Cadnam.

A FCOP spokesman added: “After 25 years of attempts and two years of energetic fundraising, the community is finally able to celebrate the completion of its new playground.

“About 150 people joined FOCP to see the playground formally opened.

“But the stars of the show were the children who, with a little bit of help, cut the ribbon with gigantic scissors.”

The ceremony was followed by a family picnic and outdoor party which included a barbecue run by local Scouts.

“The event included a raffle provided by Friends of Cancer Research UK, a mountain of cakes and drinks served by the Women’s Institute and ice cream provided by Le Chateau,” said the FCOP spokesman.

“The crowd were entertained throughout the event by a local singer, Sophie Penwill.

“A sea of smiling young faces proved the playground was a success. It was well used into the late afternoon – proof of the joy it has given.”