Published: Sunday, 27th May 2018
An estimated 2,000 people enjoyed glorious sunshine in Galashiels as Scotland rugby coach Gregor Townsend and Commonwealth Games swimmer Beth Johnston opened the new Rowan Boland play park on Saturday
The opening of the £290,000 facility – one of the largest and best equipped in the south of Scotland – also kicked off Party in the Park, which saw events and attractions for the whole family in the Public Park.
The park was named after Rowan Boland, who tragically died on 19 April 2010 while playing at Gala Cricket Club, aged just nine.
Rowan was an enthusiastic sports person and in honour of his memory his family established the Rowan Boland Memorial Trust which provides help and support for young sportspeople in the Scottish Borders.
They have supported hundreds of young sportspeople in the last eight years, with Beth Johnston one of their grant recipients and Gregor Townsend an honorary patron, who both hail from Galashiels.
A commemorative cairn and interpretation panel about the Trust was also unveiled by Gregor Townsend, Beth Johnston and the Boland family.
As well as marking the opening of the new play park, Party in the Park was also raised funds for Rowan Boland Trust and Radio Borders Cash for Kids, who also help local young people in the region.
The fundraising was kickstarted by a £500 donation from both play park contractor HAGs and AM:PM Catering for each charity.
The day was a celebration of young people, with Live Borders present with their big bouncy inflatable and assault course, along with football activities and cycling and a chance to try a range of sports.
“I first played rugby as a five year old in the Public Park so this park has special memories for me. This is a great new facility which will get children active.”
“I am delighted that the park has been named after Rowan Boland and as a young person who has enjoyed support from the Rowan Boland Memorial Trust it is a fitting tribute to his memory.”
Councillor Shona Haslam, Leader
“I confirmed at the opening ceremony that the Council will invest £3.1million of additional funding in facilities such as the Rowan Boland play park in other communities across the Scottish Borders.
“With concerns about young people being inactive and the growing issues of childhood obesity, it is important that the Council invests in good quality facilities in all our towns and villages to get young people active and provide better opportunities.”
In a joint statement, Galashiels and District Councillors Sandy Aitchison, Andy Anderson, Euan Jardine and Harry Scott added: “The new park has been designed to support children of all abilities and has a number of features for children with additional needs.
“The park encompasses a number of inclusive play features. All paths and safety surfacing are wheelchair friendly, there is a wheelchair friendly roundabout, and many other inclusive play elements such as two basket swings, a mirage swing seat and a tango swing.”
Judith Cleghorn, Chair of Galashiels Community Council who jointly organised the Party in the Park event
“We have had a marvellous party in Galashiels, firstly raising money for two local charities and providing a fun packed day for young people and their families.
“The Rowan Boland Play Park is a huge boost to the town, and will hopefully be enjoyed by generations of young people and certainly from the reaction today everyone was excited and impressed by what has been achieved.”
The final amount raised by Party in the Park for the two charities will be confirmed in the coming days. The event was free, but donations for the charities were received on the day from those attending.
Rowan Boland play park is jointly funded by our play parks budget, Galashiels Pay and Display car parking fund surpluses and a £10,000 grant from Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme.
Images are available at our Flickr page. More images are expected to be made available on Monday.
Party in the Park enjoyed a significant amount of support from the following groups and organisations:
- Live Borders
- Bidfood – Event Trailer
- DS Dalgleish and Sons/David Houston – for PA system
- Tesco, Bags of Help – Free fruit and funding
- HAGS – playpark installers
- AM:PM Catering
- Gala Rotary Club – deserve a huge thank you for charity collection
- NHS Borders Healthy Living Network - fruit
- A Plant, Earlston – toilets
- Billy Stewart – children’s entertainer
- BVAC/David Pratt/Alister Purvis and all the vintage vehicle owners
- Gus and Oli – children’s entertainer
- The Police, Fire and Ambulance Service
- Borders Buses
- Riddell Fiddles
- Gala Ex Services Pipe Band
- Gala Town Band
- SBC Green Dog Walking
- SBC Education Team and young people for face painting.
- Borders Book Festival
- Thomas and Ethel
- Borders Bogie Bus
- Bobby Ferguson
- All the SBC staff, and our team of First Aiders.
- Our opening celebrities, Gregor Townsend and Beth Johnston
- The Focus Centre for support
- Neil Moffat for building the commemorative cairn.
- Osprey for designing and manufacturing the interpretation panel
- David Neil Joinery for supporting the event logistically
- A big thank you to the Rowan Boland Memorial Trust and Cash for Kids who do so much to help young people in our community.