TV's Ben Shephard opens island themed playground at children’s hospice

TV Presenter Ben Shepard opens a new playground with children from Haven House Children's Hospice

TV presenter Ben Shephard opens the revamped playground at Haven House with help from children. - Credit: Claudine Hartzel Photography

Television presenter Ben Shephard yesterday (July 28) cut the ribbon to officially open a revamped playground at Haven House Children’s Hospice.

Children, families and staff gathered for the opening of the colourful, ‘island-inspired’ playground, which features a fully accessible wooden pirates ship, wheelchair swing, trampoline and roundabout.

The playground, which the charity said had been relatively untouched since the opening of the Woodford Green hospice more than 15 years ago, has been transformed thanks to funding from Euromoney and the London Marathon Charitable Trust.

Good Morning Britain and Tipping Point host Ben, who has supported the hospice for more than a decade and is a patron, said: “I grew up locally in Epping and played just across the road at Woodford Rugby Club. 

Young girl plays on the swing

A girl enjoys a ride on the swings in the island themed playground. - Credit: Claudine Hartzel Photography

“I have so many wonderful childhood memories of what now is Haven House. 

“I have loved seeing the hospice transform over the years and am delighted to officially open this wonderful playground.

“The hospice does fantastic work in supporting life-limited children and their families in some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable. 

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“The playground is going to allow for a safe place for children to play whilst creating many happy moments and smiles. 

“It will be a long-lasting legacy for many children and families to enjoy both now and for many years to come.”

Haven House cares for around 440 seriously ill children, providing round-the-clock care at the hospice and through its outreach services.

Young boy playing with a musical toy

The playground features a fully accessible wooden pirates ship, wheelchair swing, trampoline and roundabout. - Credit: Claudine Hartzel Photography

Sylvia Nyamaah, mother of a child at the hospice, said that the playground means that all four of her children can play together safely.

She said: "Given that we are even more restricted than other families because of Malachi's health needs, the playground has provided us with a safe and secure escape where we can all have fun as a family.

"It is our only source of safe outdoor space and it’s just fantastic as Malachi can use all the facilities and get around without much difficulty. 

This is what makes the grounds at Haven House so special and unique for us. The playground gives Malachi a more enriched quality of life as he is not being hindered.”