04:00PM, Tuesday 12 April 2022
Fifteen members of a weightlifting gym cleared away old playground equipment from a much-loved park – saving a Holyport non-profit thousands of pounds.
Holyport Community Trust owns and runs Holyport War Memorial Hall and is in the process of raising money for a new playground, estimated to cost a total of £100,000.
Of this, the Trust received a £20,000 estimate to remove the old equipment.
But Charlie Knight, head coach of Red Beard Barbell Club – also in Holyport – said that this ‘didn’t sit right’ with him.
“It seemed like a lot just to get rid of it,” he said.
Instead, he and his club members banded together, volunteering their time and whatever resources they had to clear out the park.
“Some of us are builders, or DIYers, just keen amateurs, really,” Charlie said.
“It’s a bog-standard demolition job, like stripping paint before the decorator comes.
“Putting it back up is another matter, thankfully they’ve got professionals for that.”
On Sunday, April 3, volunteers brought tools from home and dismantled the old equipment.
They completed the demolition in just shy of four hours and arranged for the scrap metal and wood to be cleared, weighed in and paid into the Trust’s account towards the new park.
A professional will remove the old concrete with a 3.5 tonne stone digger, still costing ‘significantly less’ than the £20,000 estimate that Holyport Community Trust originally had, Charlie said.
“It’s something that’s quite dear to me, I’ve been here my whole life and it would be nice if my daughter could play in the new playground,” said Charlie.
He also wanted to pay back the Trust for its help during the worst of COVID, when he could only have a single client out of doors.
He was permitted by chairman Mike Dyde to store his equipment in a room at the hall.
“He helped keep my business running through lockdown, when money was tight,” he said. “This is my way of saying thank you.”
The removal of the park fetched the approval of the community, with an ‘overwhelming’ response coming in via Facebook for the team’s efforts.
“It’s nice to see work done after the park’s been fenced off for the best part of a year,” said Charlie. “Hopefully the park can open sooner, because they’ve got that £20,000 still in the bank.”
On its website, Holyport Community Trust announced that it has managed to raise ‘a significant sum’ in a short space of time, ‘despite the daunting costs’.
It is hoped that work can start this summer.
To donate to Holyport Community Trust’s ongoing fundraising page, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/playgroundholyport
Closures are planned on the M4 between Langley and the M25 this weekend for smart motorway works.