TV PRESENTER Angellica Bell 'returned home' to Ealing at the weekend to launch the free summer games, organised by Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre.
The games are taking place on a pop-up lawn in Town Square until August 31 and will inlcude events such as Giant Jenga, target croquet and a Giant Penny Roll.
Former CBBC presenter Angellica, who now appears on The One Show, opened the games on Saturday July 27 accompanied by her father Julian Bell, who is leader of Ealing Council.
Angellica grew up in Ealing but currently lives in Kingston with husband Michael Underwood and her two children.
She said Ealing still has a special place in her heart: "A lady came up to me and said I gave an autograph to her daughter years ago. Her daughter’s now 25 years old. It’s really bizarre because I lived my life here and you don't know how it affects other people until they tell you.
"Residents have a bond. There’s a heart. Ealing has changed – I remember when the bomb by the station went off, then the riots and that shook me. But residents do rally together. It’s nice to come back to where you’re from and the community, and give something back."
At 11am, she opened the games and took part in a ‘question and answer’ session, before playing with the children on the giant lawn at games of giant croquet, penny arcade and jenga.
Alina Cerniavski, mum to six-year-old Aivaras, called the event a "pretty and very attractive... good place" for kids, while another parent, Hina Singh said "events like this are in short supply in Ealing".
Future activities on the lawn will be changing as Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre reach out to their local retailers to get involved.
Marketing manager Lucy Thomas said: "Argos will be putting in their games. Virgin Active will be doing time trials. Waterstones are taking part in a nationwide paper-chain record so kids can get involved in that. M&S are doing beauty makeovers, as they’ve got a new range. The nice thing about the garden is that retailers can come out and talk to people that wouldn’t ordinarily walk into their store. It gives them a nice opportunity."
Yet, some retailers voiced complaints that the event’s noise was disrupting their staff’s ability to sell to customers. Additionally, there were claims that the event had not been communicated in advance.
A spokesperson for Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre said: "All retailers were invited to participate and also to attend a meeting in advance of the event. [The retailers] were all very positive. We ensured that the event only took place over a few hours so that any noise disruption was kept to a minimum.”
Parents and guardians enjoyed the deck chairs that were located on the sides of the pop-up lawn, and they were joined by council leader, Julian Bell.
When asked if he’d be trying out the games, Cllr Bell said: "I’m always game to try but I’m probably too old. I need my grandsons and daughters here to give me an excuse" – before getting out his phone and calling them to join him.
The games will conclude with a Jenga Championship on August 31 that invites all ages to find Ealing’s best jenga player. Take part in this, and all other activities, by visiting the Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre events page.