East Leake play area opened by presenter Jess French

The new Gotham Road Recreation Ground play space in East Leake has been opened by the University’s very own children’s TV celebrity, Jessica French.

Jess, who is a final-year vet student at the University and who lives in East Leake, presents her programme Minibeast Adventure with Jess on the BBC channel CBeebies. The Gotham Road play area refurbishment was successful in winning funding last year from ITV’s People’s Millions, in conjunction with the Big Lottery Fund. The project won £50,000 with a landslide victory of over 3000 telephone votes, doubling the number of votes gained by the runner-up project. This money, along with funds put aside by the East Leake Parish Council and Section 106 money from Rushcliffe Borough Council, meant that there was sufficient funding to place the order for the new playground earlier this year. The play area opened to the community last month on 23 September.

Gotham Road Recreation Ground Play Space opens

Gotham Road Recreation Ground Play Space opens

Felicity Rose, based within the School of Pharmacy, has played a key role in the project for the past three years working closely with the Parish Council in East Leake. She, alongside a small group of other mums that live in the village, have held numerous consultations with the local community, including with schools and uniformed groups, and attended many meetings with the Parish Council’s ‘Playground Taskforce’ and playground equipment suppliers. She used her skills in securing funding from research councils to write the application for ITV’s People’s Millions.

Jess French addresses the crowd

Jess addresses the crowd

Felicity said: “It is truly an amazing feeling to see your dreams turn into reality. The new playground has breathed new life into the centre of the village creating a real buzz of social activity not just for the children but for parents too. I feel so proud to have been part of a great team of people who have all worked so hard to make this project a success. When I proposed this project to the Parish Council three years ago, all my friends told me that I was wasting my time. But the Parish Council really got behind the project and with support from other parents, especially Liz and Georgie, and from everyone who voted for us in ITV’s People’s Millions (a huge thanks again everyone who picked up the phone!) it soon became a realistic proposition.

“It just shows you what you can achieve if you all work together!  And who better to officially open our minibeast themed play area than our very own CBeebies presenter, Jess!”

Visit our website to read more about how Jess came to present her series for CBeebies, and read our previous story for more about the East Leake play park.

Main image: Felicity (middle left) with her two children pictured with Jess (middle right) at the official opening of the Gotham Road play area in East Leake

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