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Duthie Park play areas receive makeover as improvement work continues

04/06/14

The refurbishment of Duthie Park play areas marks the latest phase in improvement work made possible by the generosity of the late Lorna Doreen Russell.

Mrs Russell, who lived at Banks O' Dee nursing home, had a great fondness for Duthie Park's David Welch Winter Gardens and, with her husband, spent many happy hours there.

She died in April 2009, leaving around 800,000 to Aberdeen City Council for "extending, improving or otherwise refurbishing that part of the Duthie Park known as the Winter Gardens or providing further facilities at the park".

As well as the 120,000 refurbishment to the two play areas in Duthie Park, Mrs Russell's bequest has also funded the creation of a brand new 200,000 play area in the south-east corner and the replacement of greenhouses in the Winter Gardens, at a cost of approximately 300,000.

The bequest will also help fund improvements to the raised bed courtyard area in the Winter Gardens.

Aberdeen City Council Housing and Environment Convener Councillor Neil Cooney said: "I am delighted that this latest phase of work in Duthie Park is now complete and I am sure children and adults alike will take great enjoyment from these improvements.

"It has been an exciting time for Duthie Park recently with the completion of its restoration and the other projects which have been made possible by Mrs Russell's generosity. We are confident all these improvements will not only make Mrs Russell proud but the city as a whole."

Duthie Park manager Alan Findlay added: "Duthie Park has a special place in the hearts of many folk and it is fantastic that another project made possible by Mrs Russell's bequest has concluded.

"It is projects like these that help the park flourish and ensure that this popular attraction is safeguarded for future generations."

The work carried out using Mrs Russell's bequest is separate to a major restoration which saw Duthie Park returned to its original Victorian splendour.

The proposal to restore Duthie Park was conceived in 2001 with the project securing a 2.56million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which was matched with 2.67million from Aberdeen City Council.

Work got under way in February 2012 and the newly-restored park was officially opened in June last year [2013].

Since completion of the restoration project Duthie Park has collected numerous awards on the local and national stages.

Last month [May 2014], Playspotter - a website which reviews and rates more than 5,000 play areas across the UK - named it Top Major Park in the UK.

In September last year [2013], the new play area was honoured with the Gold Award for Outstanding Contribution to Play, the most prestigious award presented at the Nancy Ovens Play Awards, which recognise top quality outdoor play spaces.

Aberdeen Civic Society named Duthie Park Best Overall Project at its annual awards ceremony in October last year [2013] and park also received the Jim Murdie Trophy for Permanent Landscaping 2013 from Beautiful Scotland.

It also became the first in Aberdeen to fly the Green Flag – a Keep Scotland Beautiful prize seen as the benchmark for quality green space.