The new children’s ‘fort’ - good or bad?

Kian Clegg cuts the ribbon on the new fort, with help from the Mayor of Harrogate Coun Les Ellington. Also present were the Mayoress, Christine Ellington, Harrogate Council's parks development manager Trish McLaughlin, Friends of the Valley Gardens chairman Jane Blayney and Angie Kiker and Lorna Markee from Mentwith Hill's Community Heartbeat, which donated �2,000 to the rebuilding fund. (S)
Kian Clegg cuts the ribbon on the new fort, with help from the Mayor of Harrogate Coun Les Ellington. Also present were the Mayoress, Christine Ellington, Harrogate Council's parks development manager Trish McLaughlin, Friends of the Valley Gardens chairman Jane Blayney and Angie Kiker and Lorna Markee from Mentwith Hill's Community Heartbeat, which donated �2,000 to the rebuilding fund. (S)
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THE new play fort in Harrogate’s Valley Gardens has been officially opened by a schoolboy from Knaresborough.

Kian Clegg, aged six and a pupil at St John’s Primary School, was given the honour after helping to raise money for the facility.

He was so upset when the fort was burnt down last October, he asked his mum to take the money out of the bank to pay for its replacement.

Explaining that wasn’t possible, she suggested they held a baking day instead and raised £30 for the fund.

Kian was given the honour of cutting the ribbon on the fort, alongside the Mayor and Mayoress of Harrogate, Coun Les Ellington and his wife Christine, who declared the new fort open.

The facility was installed following a public consultation and the council believes it is better than ever, with more equipment for youngsters to use.

The response so far has been mixed, as shown by comments on Twitter.

Andrew Newall (@donklufc) said: “Having a young child that used to be able to play on it, parts of the new fort are a bit older and too dangerous to play on till she’s older.”

Fiona Rule (@FionaRule1) agreed, saying: “My little girl is too small to climb up the rope/chain steps. She used to love running up the ramp of the old one.”

But many people said their children had already enjoyed using the new fort.

The North Space (@TheNorthSpace) said: “My seven-year-old son loves it and it’s much easier to keep an eye on him as it’s more open; big thumbs up.”

Linda Cheung (@Linda_Cheungy) agreed, saying: “My boys are happy with it!”

Eve Hawkins (@eveyroo) said: “I thoroughly enjoyed watching my five-year-old conquer the climbing walls and monkey bars. They were a real challenge for him.”

Three teenagers charged with arson in connection with the fire last October are due to make a further appearance at Harrogate Youth Court next Wednesday.