AN award-winning Ribble Valley park has been ‘transformed’ after new play equipment was installed.

The facilities at John Smith’s Playing Field in Longridge were condemned last October after a report was published by the borough council.

Now more than £24,000 has been spent revamping the play area after the council secured a grant from Gloucestershire-based Sita Trust.

Last year, the playing field was awarded diamond jubilee status alongside Clitheroe’s Castle Park and Brungerley Park, protecting it for future generations.

After the original equipment was deemed ‘no longer fit for purpose’, The Longridge Social Enterprise Company identified improvements at the site as a priority for the town after a consultation with park users.

Ribble Valley Mayor, Coun Michael Ranson, was joined by his mayoress and year three, four, five pupils from Barnacre Primary School for the unveiling of the new 40-foot-long ‘pirate’s galleon’.

The galleon features a crawler tunnel, vertical climbing wall, rope bridge, deck slide, rope tower and climbing nets.

Coun Ranson said: “It’s great to have this new facility for the youngsters of the local area and I think that it will be put to good use. We are lucky that we have a lot of sites like this in the Ribble Valley and this site has really been transformed from what it was.

“It’s really tremendous that this project has been completed by the Sita Trust and the borough council and that it’s now available for use.”

Fiona Heppenstall, deputy head at Barnacre Primary School, in Longridge, said: “It’s a lovely resource that allows the children to play carefully and instructively.

“It’s brilliant and it’s a real plus for the community.

“I would hope that the community takes responsibility for it now and makes sure that it doesn’t get damaged or spoilt for the children who use it.”