A GENEROUS benefactor who left a significant legacy towards the £70,000 upgrade of a toddlers’ play area has been thanked.

Work has begun on the 23-year-old toddler area and will last five weeks, closing part of Yelverton Play Park, which caters for all ages of children. The asphalt games area, larger towers, larger swings and adventure trail will remain open.

The toddler area will have new equipment to increase inclusivity for disabled children and have more variety.

Ric Cheadle, of Yelverton Community Projects, said: ‘ Yelverton Play Park is having a big development of the toddler section., it will be fenced off and out of use for about five weeks. As a totally volunteer-run and managed play park, we have spent many hours getting to this point and it’s unfortunately coincided with the school holidays. The end result will be a super improvement to hopefully give the community another 20 years or more of enjoyment.’

Marcel de Gascan left £40,000 in her will, as a villager. Ric said: “Marcel enjoyed watching the children playing and she has been very generous to us. Her generosity will be appreciated by many families and their families.”

Funding has also come from the planning agreement linked to the nearby newly built Briar Tor estate at the Leg O’ Mutton, Yelverton Co-op charity and from funds raised by community projects’ efforts. The park is already a recognised centre of excellence, visited by users from across West Devon and Plymouth. One group of disabled youngsters comes from Plymouth regularly.

Ric said children surveyed for their choices of new equipment picked a roundabout and seesaw.

A circular swing in which parents can lie with their child, will be totally new, while a porous rubberised floor which will be safer to fall. A new play tower and colourful new swings will be laid, made of composite recycled plastic.

Ric said: “The play park is run by and owned by Yelverton Community Projects, which means we don’t receive any funding from local councils. We have been able to match any funding to get where we are now and in the past. However, we will have to maintain the whole park. So, we’re keen parents help us by making donations using QR codes on signs which they see when watching children playing.”

The play park charity also runs a fundraising lottery. Jack and Maddie Owen, aged eight and ten, gave the thumbs up to the older children’s play area. Jack said his favourite was the multi-use games area or MUGA, which includes a goal, while their father Dave, said: “It’s a brilliant play area.”