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England star opens first disabled play area

A ruby star scored a huge hit with disabled children as he officially opened the first playground in the country designed specifically with them in mind.

A rugby star scored a huge hit with disabled children as he officially opened the first playground in the country designed specifically with them in mind.

Former England rugby captain, Lawrence Dallaglio opened the revamped Rocket Park in Windsor Avenue, Hillingdon, last Friday.

Mr Dallaglio is regional president of rugby charity, Wooden Spoon, which donated £80,000 to fund the park.

Hillingdon Council put forward £45,000 and the Peter Harrison Foundation funded £30,000 after motivated mother Katrina Bijowski spearheaded the campaign.

Ickenham resident Mrs Bijowski set up charity Karers 4 Kidz to create recreational grounds where children of all backgrounds could play together.

Motivated by her experiences with teenage daughter Emma, who has cerebral palsy, she has spent the last six years fundraising.

Mrs Bijowski said: "It's the first of its kind because it changes established ways of working. It's of great benefit to the community. The children love it."

The facility includes a yo yo swing, magic toadstools, talking flowers, cable runway, roundabout, picnic tables and specially designed roads so that wheelchairs users can practice their wheelchair skills.

During the daytime the area will be used by health education, children's services and special schools, but opened to the public in the evening.

Through the GEM (Get Everyone Moving) Campaign Mrs Bijowski next wants to raise funds to create a toilet block and storage area at Abbotsfield School in Clifton Gardens, Hillingdon, where the Kidz for Art club is run.

She said: "The school's facilities are used at the minute, but the club needs its own facilities."

Anyone interested in fundraising or sponsoring can contact Mrs Bijowski on 07732245905 or email katrina@karers4kidz.org.uk. Cheque donations can be sent to charity treasurer Chris Nixon at 7 Bellamy Close, Ickenham, UB10 8SJ.

Mrs Bijowski would like to thank Abbotsfield pupils for providing the catering and service at the park opening welcome reception.

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