A new place to play in peace thanks to Wooden Spoon Ulster.
A play park promoting the children’s charity of rugby’s values of teamwork and inclusivity has been completed thanks to a £35,000 donation from Wooden Spoon Ulster.
The new outdoor facility at Ballycastle’s Corrymeela Centre, Northern Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation retreat, was officially unveiled by Willie John McBride.
“As a player, I learnt how to play well together with people from different backgrounds,” said the Irish rugby legend during his visit to the centre, which welcomes more than 5,000 people each year and can count Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama and Prince Charles among its previous guests.
“I’m delighted to open this play park so thousands of children from all walks of life will be able to play together and make new friends.”
Tim Magowan, Corrymeela’s Interim Executive Director, said: “We are so delighted to now have a wonderful play park which children and families can enjoy together. “In our increasingly divided world, we’re welcoming more and more people on site to learn how to build positive relationships with people from different backgrounds.”
Burnish Primary School pupils who attended the Corrymeela Centre opening gave an insight into their exciting day:
Mia – ‘Thank you for letting us come to the new park. Thank you for giving us some delicious biscuits and juice when we arrived. They were yummy. I thought the speeches were interesting. I could not believe that Willie John McBride played rugby for Ireland. When I heard about the Wooden Spoon I did not have a clue what it was. Then Willie John told us all about it.’
Harry – ‘I was really excited when you said we were going to check out the new park. It looked amazing and as soon as I saw it I climbed the rope as quickly as possible then I went down the slide on the helicopter. Then I went to the green tunnel slide. It was awesome! I went on it like 10 times you went whizzing down and went flying down to the end. It was like going down a big tunnel.’
Chloe – ‘When I heard you say that we could go and see the new park I couldn’t wait to see it. When I saw the helicopter it looked extremely fabulous. My favourite part was the green slide because you go whizzing down it and you land on your bum. The funniest part was when the adults at Corrymeela went down the green slide and landed on their bum. I think other people will love it when they try it.’
Sophie – ‘I was so excited to go to the wood park. The bell was so loud and the little huts looked like tepees. The log was awesome and the pirate ship was really really fun.’
Riona – ‘I loved flying down the slide like a rocket ship. Then I went to the third park I loved helping the little ones on the sea-saw. I kept pushing them up and down. The little ones were laughing. I loved it and I think they did to. I thought it was the best park I have ever been to.’
This story features on page 11 in the latest edition of Spoonews, if you would like to read the full magazine please click here.