Wednesday, 19 June 2019

All-weather table tennis tables designed for all ages

All-weather table tennis tables designed for all ages

TWO new table tennis tables have been installed at the recreation ground in Watlington.

The all-weather tables were funded by a grant of £1,750 from Councillor Steve Harrod, the town’s representative on Oxfordshire County Council.

The concrete footings were created by Collinsgroundworks & Construction and the aluminium tables were assembled by parish councillor Roger Beattie and resident Mike Gardner.

Mr Gardner’s wife Sally, who led the project, said: “The parish council said it was looking for ideas to develop the field and I said, ‘what about table tennis?’

“There wasn’t anywhere in Watlington I could play table tennis with my granddaughter. In Europe they have table tennis in parks.

“We have a Watlington town noticeboard page on Facebook, where we had lots of interest.

“They are really good tables — they’re accessible to all ages and disabled people can use them as well. We have already got a playground and this is an extra activity for older children and adults and perhaps older people who aren’t interested in football or cricket.

“Kids will be able to use them during the summer holidays and in the evenings.”

Councillor Beattie said: “This is encouraging all ages to be active. There’s a big problem with young people wanting to sit in front of computers or iPhones and not taking part in activities and I’m very much trying to encourage activity in the over-55s.”

One of the first people to try out the tables was 12-year-old Alex Ingram.

He said: “They are really good. I like it because I can come down here with my friends. Playing football every time I came down here got a bit boring so it’s nice to have these here.”

Sophia Castro, 12, added: “If they weren’t here then I probably would just stay in the house because there’s not much to do.”

Meanwhile, shade sails have been erected in the recreation ground to provide protection for children from the sun and prevent red kites swooping in and stealing people’s food.

They were paid for and installed by skateboarders Martin Dix, James Eveleigh and Dean Bullion at a cost £400.

The trio have been using the town’s skate park since the Nineties and run the annual Bowlfest skating event.

Mr Dix said: “To be able to do something for the town was quite important. We were here last year and we started to realise how much of a menace the kites had started to become. It was also a really hot summer.”

They were helped by Cllr Beattie, who came with the idea, and Nicky Smallbone, who stitched the sails together.

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