Skipton Swimarathon, final piece in Saumarez Park jigsaw

Man smiling next to swimming pool

The Skipton Swimarathon has announced that the plan to redevelop and refurbish the much loved Children's Playground at Saumarez Park is the unanimous choice as lead beneficiary for this year's fundraiser, and in so doing has solved the mystery surrounding the sudden leap forward in the progress of this project.

The Skipton Swimarathon pledge to donate at least £25,000 has meant that planning and activity can now begin in earnest, rounding off what has been a series of local fundraising events. The work is expected to start at the end of the summer and be completed around 8 weeks later.

Skipton Swimarathon chairman Steve Hogg said, "We are delighted to be able to support the refurbishment of such a well–loved facility, which so many Island families know and enjoy."

Jim Coupe, managing director of lead sponsors Skipton International, added, "Whilst the Park itself is managed day to day by the States, equipment for the children's playground has always been paid for from private funds. We are pleased to be playing our part in this important community project. We will of course be entering at least one of our own teams and urge other companies locally to take up the challenge. Last year, our two teams alone raised over £1,000 at the event for local good causes."

The existing playground can trace its roots back to the 70s when one of the first designs was built. It was refurbished in the 90s, but since then, the layout has remained largely unaltered. Up until 1938, the Park was owned by the Saumarez family, but it was bought that year by the States after the death of the 4th Baron for the people of Guernsey. Saumarez Park is the jewel in the crown of Guernsey's green and open spaces and there can be few families who have not taken their children there to play at some point.

The plans to develop the park playground include the construction of a 25 metre long pirate ship which will be the centrepiece of the junior play area. The introduction of a naval theme has a special relevance, as the original Baron de Saumarez, Sir James Saumarez, was a celebrated commander in the Royal Navy, notching up notable victories against the French, in particular in 1801 when he routed a much superior combined force of French and Spanish ships at the Battle of the Gut of Gibraltar.

Toddlers will be treated to a new fairytale castle which is sure to fire some young imaginations. The total cost of the first phase of building works is expected to be in the region of £150,000, all of which will be paid from private fundraising initiatives, with the Skipton Swimarathon pledging at least £25,000.

This year's Skipton Swimarathon will be held at Beau Sejour from 2 to 6 October. Over the coming weeks, information about this year's Skipton Swimarathon will appear on the website, , on Facebook and Twitter.