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Plea for OAP fitness park

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A retired woman who suffers from arthritis has called for a pensioners- only playground to be installed in Bingham.

Mrs Joan Ashton (65) of Church Street, Bingham, came up with the idea after seeing Britain’s first outdoor exercise playground designed specifically for the elderly on television.

The £15,000 playground in Blackley, Greater Manchester, features six pieces of fitness equipment designed to provide gentle exercise for the over-60s.

It was inspired by a similar playground in Berlin’s Preussen Park, which features leg trainers, flexibility machines and back massage poles that help to improve strength, balance and stimulate circulation.

Mrs Ashton said youngsters in Bingham were well catered for but there was no equipment aimed at the elderly.

She said it was important for older people to exercise because they were more susceptible to problems such as heart disease and the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis.

“Exercising is important for elderly people generally. I suffer from arthritis so the more general exercise I can do the better for keeping my joints supple and I think that goes for a lot of people,” she said.

“All the equipment was designed for elderly people to use, to work out and to strengthen their muscles.

“They can exercise their joints and maintain mobility. It sounded a really good idea.”

The Berlin playground, part of a social experiment aimed at making elderly people more physically and mentally active, has been a huge hit with the city’s pensioners.

Mrs Ashton said gym membership was quite expensive and a lot of the equipment was not suitable for older people.

She said: “I think it’s something the town council could explore. The people I’ve spoken to were quite keen on the idea.

“I certainly know quite a few people who would go down and use it.”

Mrs Ashton suggested Butt Field as a potential site.

“It’s pretty central and it would have a carpark built. People might not be able to walk great distances,” she said.

The chairman of Bingham Town Council’s recreation and cemetery committee, Mr Frank Kerry, said: “I know it has been done elsewhere. It’s something we will have to think about.

“I will see if it will be put on the agenda for the next meeting. We have got to discuss these things.

“The problem with it is that we have got to find a site. Butt Field is a long way for the elderly. It should be near the town centre.”

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