There was a party atmosphere when the new zip wire in Bere Ferrers playing field was opened last Sunday.

The former zip wire, which was 20 years old, had been declared unsafe last year and a major fundraising effort succeeded in raising over £18,000 for a new one.

The decision to replace it was made by Bere Ferrers Parish Council on advice from the Villagers Group after a consultation where local children gave an overwhelming vote to replacing the structure.

Cllr Peter Crozier, chair of the parish council, welcomed villagers, children and representatives of the various organisations involved, including GWR and the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership, to the opening.

Devon County Councillor Philip Sanders performed the ceremony and also unveiled a new interpretation board giving the history of the Party Fields and Playing Fields. The board had been funded by GWR due to the connection with train Sunday School parties to the Party Fields in the last century.

Grants for the zip wire were received from GWR, the parish council, and from the locality funds of councillors Philip Sanders, Peter Crozier and Robin Musgrave. Local fundraising accounted for over half of the sum raised. Surplus money will be used to replace other equipment in the play area.

Andy & Ron Ball carried out the groundworks, Chris Burley of Outdoor Play Ltd provided the apparatus and villagers helped prepare the area. Diana Mitchell, chair of the Villagers Group, thanked those involved, including David Pengelly, who administered the local charity fund, and everyone who helped raise the money.

Parish councillor Brian Lamb thanked Clive Charlton, who provided the research for the information board, which was designed by Graphic Words of Peter Tavy. Clive gave a short talk on the history which included the LSWR trains to the area prior to GWR. In 1993 those who had previously come to the Bere Ferrers Party Fields had been invited to a special celebration, organised by Alison Sherrell.

Praise was given by the speakers to the supportive community.