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Nine-year-old raises £200k for park
Friday, 09 September 2011
Ryan Wells has lobbied the town hall and developers for grants
A NINE-YEAR-OLD boy who spent the last two years raising more than £200,000 to spruce up his local park, has been nominated for an Our Heroes award.
Ryan Wells was so fed up with the poor state of Northbrook Park in Baring Road, Lee, he compiled a dossier on its problems.
The youngster, of Rayford Avenue, Lee, met Lewisham Mayor Sir Steve Bullock and presented him with the information in October 2009.
His efforts resulted in the council committing £10,000 to improve the park.
His lobbying also landed a further £41,000 from the town hall and £45,000 from property developers for the improvements.
Buoyed by his success, Ryan pushed on with his campaigning and secured more contributions.
Lottery cash and contributions from local businesses helped him reach his £225,000 fundraising total.
His mum Michelle Ball, 39, said: “Ryan was sick of coming back from playing football in the park and either him or one of his friends having slid in dog poo.
“He was also not happy with the play equipment and he thought there should be a BMX track or something similar for older children.
“So he took photos of the park and presented it to the mayor, who had asked to meet him.”
After getting the cash pledges Ryan helped set up the Northbrook Park Community Group so residents could help decide how it would be best spent.
The once-vandalised park now has a new children’s play area with equipment including a zip wire, climbing net, hammock and basket swing.
There is also a toddlers’ play area with a sandpit and tepee, a forest area with magnifying equipment to look at insects, and bird and bat boxes.
A new sports pitch and outdoor gym are the next likely additions to the park.
Michelle said: “I’m really proud of him and his achievements as he’s done it all himself.
“We are already seeing more and more people use and enjoy the park. It’s also reduced the amount of antisocial behaviour and dog mess, which is great.”
The South London Press Our Heroes Awards ceremony will be held on November 15 at the home of sponsors Shell at their South Bank headquarters.
Copyright Tindle Newspapers Ltd Wednesday, 22 May 2013
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