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If you go down to a Royal Parks’ playground you’re sure of a big surprise...because to celebrate the updated playgrounds in the Richmond Park and Bushy Park, The Royal Parks is having three Teddy Bears’ picnics!

Next week children up to the age of 12 are invited to grab their favourite teddy or cuddly toy and bring a picnic for an afternoon of free craft activities, games and a ‘best dressed ted’ competition. Children will be able to get creative and stretch their imaginations with a variety of craft activities at Richmond and Bushy Park picnics on the 29th, 30th and 31st August. There will also be a guest appearance from The Royal Parks’ very own teddy.

Thanks to funding from the London Marathon Charitable Trust large timber climbing frames, hammocks, a water play feature, swings and see-saws - to name but a few of the new additions - have been added across the three playgrounds. Children inspired by the London Marathon and London 2012 will able to use the playgrounds to develop their social and play skills whilst maintaining a healthy balanced lifestyle.

Pergolas have been installed at Petersham Gate playground in Richmond Park and the Bushy Park playground to increase the amount of shade available for parents and the children, with additional seating created at all three.

Linda Lennon, CBE and Chief Executive of The Royal Parks said:

"Now the playground works have been completed it is great to see children back playing and letting their imagination run wild - pretending to dig for buried treasure in the sand pit, climbing over the Scottish boulders rounded by ancient glacial rivers, or scaling the climbing frame. The Teddy Bears’ picnics will be a wonderful way to round off a very satisfying project and we look forward to seeing families there enjoying the day.

"We want our playgrounds to be exciting and fun while also reflecting their unique setting within the historic landscape. The Royal Parks’ landscape architect and park management teams have achieved this and added a wide array of equipment and features for younger children and more adventurous older children to enjoy."

So bring your teddy and a picnic and head to the playgrounds to celebrate the improvement works with us.

John Bryant, Chairman of the London Marathon Charitable Trust, said:

"The Trust is delighted to join in partnership with The Royal Parks to ensure these valuable play facilities remain available to all, providing varied and challenging experiences for younger members of the community. We know that one of the first opportunities for exercise open to many children is in a local playground and we are pleased to be making a lasting contribution to the fitness of these youngsters.

"In the year of the Olympic and Paralympic Games it is appropriate that the Trust should fund a facility which will enhance the health legacy of the Games."

Redevelopment of the three playgrounds in Richmond and Bushy Parks began in 2010 with an award of £225,000 funding from the London Marathon Trust. The main aim of the project is to create a challenging and stimulating environment for play while also increasing capacity and accessibility.

Consultation with playground visitors identified a need to improve provision for children aged under 5 and a need for more challenging equipment for children aged 8-12. A selection of equipment including a nest swing, see-saws, play sculptures and a turtle drum have all been installed to accommodate the younger age group. In addition climbing frames and balance beams have been installed as a physical challenge to the 8-12 year olds while the introduction of a water play feature and play boulders allows opportunity for social play.

Date: Wednesday 29th August
Time: 11:30am - 3.30pm - Best dressed Ted at 1.30pm
Location: Richmond Park, Petersham Gate Playground

Date: Thursday 30th August
Time: 11:30am - 3.30pm - Best dressed Ted at 1.30pm
Location: Richmond Park, Kingston Gate Playground

Date: Friday 31st August
Time: 11:30am - 3.30pm - Best dressed Ted at 1.30pm
Location: Bushy Park Playground

- Ends -

NOTES TO EDITORS

About Richmond and Bushy Parks, and The Royal Parks

Every year millions of Londoners and tourists visit Richmond and Bushy Parks and they are the two largest of the capital’s eight Royal Parks and the biggest enclosed space in London. Richmond Park is a National Nature Reserve, London’s largest Site of Special Scientific Interest and a European Special Area of Conservation. It is home to the beautiful Isabella Plantation, Pembroke Lodge and herds of Red and Fallow deer.

Located near Hampton Court Palace, Bushy Park’s mixture of woods, gardens, ponds and grassland makes it a fantastic place to enjoy wildlife with roaming herds of Red and Fallow Deer. The Park is also home to the famous Chestnut Avenue, a formal Baroque water garden and the beautiful Diana Fountain.

The Royal Parks are: Bushy Park, The Green Park, Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, The Regent's Park and Primrose Hill, Richmond Park and St James's Park. The Royal Parks also manages Victoria Tower Gardens, Brompton Cemetery, Grosvenor Square Gardens and the gardens of 10, 11 and 12 Downing Street.

For further information please visit: www.royalparks.org.uk.

For media enquiries contact: 0300 061 2128 or press@royalparks.gsi.gov.uk.

About the London Marathon Charitable

Each year, the London Marathon Charitable Trust receives the surplus generated by The London Marathon Limited, from the Virgin London Marathon, the BUPA 10,000, the Standard Chartered Great City Race and the Adidas Half Marathon and distributes this by way of grants for community recreation and leisure facilities across London and South Northamptonshire. Since 1981, the Trust has made grants in excess of £45 million to more than 800 projects.

For more details contact David Golton on 020 8892 6646 or Nicola Okey at the London Marathon press office: 020 7902 0182

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