Picture special: Galashiels play park opening

The newest and biggest playpark in the Borders was officially opened on Saturday, and large crowds turned out for a party to mark its launch.

The £290,000 facility in Galashiels Public Park is named after Rowan Boland, a nine-year-old boy from the town who died in 2010 while playing cricket.

It’s hoped the park will prove to be as big a success as the sporting trust that also bears his name as it has enabled many young athletes to flourish in their chosen sports.

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Rowan’s father Dave said: “It’s a very emotional day for the family with the council choosing to name the park after Rowan, and it’s a great facility for the families of Galashiels and the surrounding areas.”

Appraising the park itself, which includes many bespoke items created by playpark specialist Hags such as a train and a castle with climbing walls, ladders and slides, Dave said: “When we were younger, I think we maybe had a swing, a chute and a roundabout if we were lucky, so this is amazing.

“It was good to see the kids rush in there at the start.

The facility was so enthusiastically received that council leader Shona Haslam also got a good few cheers when she announced that it is only the start of a £3.1m project to put parks in more towns in the Borders.

Speaking before the park was opened by Scotland rugby coach Gregor Townsend and Commonwealth Games para-swimmer Beth Johnston, Mrs Haslam said: “This park is a £290,000 project, and it has a range of fantastic equipment in it for young people from two to 14-year-olds, with lots of inclusive play opportunities.

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“The new park is a demonstration of what can be done when you invest in high-quality facilities, and it will help get a generation of children away from their computers and back outdoors being active again.

“Scottish Borders Council is committed to investment and improved facilities throughout the Borders, and we have set aside £3.1m over the next four years to ensure that towns and villages across the Borders receive new and improved facilities for young people.”

A report will be presented to councillors today setting out how that investment should be spent over the next four years.

If councillors agree, new facilities are anticipated at Harestanes, Kelso, Coldstream, Hawick, Peebles, Jedburgh, Eyemouth and Earlston, as well as in a number of other villages throughout the region.

Visit our website to see more photos and a video of the opening of the park.