Work starts on pit park facelift

Turf cutting at Gallagher Park, Bedlington, are Coun Ian Swithenbank, Roz Dolby, Irene Webster, Mike Jeffrey, Trish Fisher and Wes Dolby.

Turf cutting at Gallagher Park, Bedlington, are Coun Ian Swithenbank, Roz Dolby, Irene Webster, Mike Jeffrey, Trish Fisher and Wes Dolby.

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Work has started to improve a park as part of a £2million leisure investment scheme for Bedlington.

Gallagher Park, on the site of the Doctor Pit colliery site, is to be modernised with a new pavilion being built to provide a community room and kitchen, two changing rooms and toilets.

The 70-acre park was reclaimed during the 1970s when the old spoil heap and colliery buildings were landscaped to create a new outdoor recreational facility, with woodland, wildflower meadows, football pitches, a BMX track, play facilities and a mountain biking course.

Irene Webster, whose husband George’s work inspired the establishment of the park, is part of the Friends group which carries out regular maintenance and has raised funding for developments.

She said: “We have waited 30 years to see the plans come to full fruition and this is a big stepping stone to getting development moving again in the right direction.

“George would have been delighted to see the start of the work for the new pavilion which will provide a vital hub for all the community. Gallagher Park was a place that he loved and was very passionate about and this new phase of work is wonderful news for Bedlington.”

The £2million plan includes improved facilities at the new Bedlingtonshire Community High School, currently under construction. Sport England has given £135,000 for the new pavilion. Northumberland County Council is contributing £300,000 for the school facilities.

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