VILLAGERS in Lochwinnoch have raised thousands of pounds to renovate their park by taking on fun fitness challenges.

Hundreds of volunteers stepped up to coin in more than £7,000 in the first Lochwinnoch Park Olympics, which took place during April.

Members of the Lochwinnoch Toddlers Group hosted their own mini-Olympics for pre-schoolers, including a parade, while Lochwinnoch Hearties – a fitness group for pensioners – completed 100 sit-ups each week throughout the month.

Elsewhere, villagers taking part in the Steps Challenge collectively took more than 24 million steps during April, while mums from the Lochwinnoch Buggy Club donned fancy dress for their sponsored walk.

The Gazette: Members of the Lochwinnoch Buggy Club competed a fancy dress walkMembers of the Lochwinnoch Buggy Club competed a fancy dress walk

Many children have also been completing a sponsored NOT walk, which involves completing circuits by skipping, jumping, dancing or cartwheeling.

The renovation project for Lochwinnoch Park is being led by local mum Kirstin Innes, who is also director of the Lochwinnoch Community Development Trust.

She told The Gazette: “The pandemic has highlighted what our village park was lacking.

“The children’s playpark is badly in need of a refurbishment, with the current equipment rusted and set into a gravel-strewn floor. Older people also found it difficult to find places to meet, as there is no outdoor seating, and it was made clear that local teenagers had absolutely nowhere to go.

“We hope to install a new play area with sustainable rubber wetpour flooring, an intergenerational seating area and a teen hangout pod with exercise-powered Bluetooth speakers.”

The Gazette: Jack Wright, 6, completed 300 crossings of the monkey bars during AprilJack Wright, 6, completed 300 crossings of the monkey bars during April

Local fundraiser Tori Bell added: “The total amount for the renovation is more like £150,000 but this event demonstrates to the bigger funding sources we’re applying to that the community really supports the idea.

“Businesses have been really generous too, with time and money, and we will recognise all who donated or took part in some way.”

Lochwinnoch Primary and Kibble Forest School are doing further NOT Walks around the park this month to keep the fundraising drive going.

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