Loughill’s a winner all ‘Round!

The beautiful public park Abha Bhán, that has been lovingly planned and developed in Loughill and opened to the public last year has been awarded the National overall winner in the Community and Rural Category Project at the ALCI awards ceremony held at the Convention Centre, Dublin.
This is in recognition of the hard work carried out by Mr. Christy Hanbury CEO of Creative Play Solutions, the hard -working Committee and the great local support given to the park, which has become somewhat of a treasure for all of us who love to visit.
The award was presented at the Northern and Southern Ireland ALCI awards ceremony in The Convention Centre, Dublin last Friday. Abha Bhán Parish Park won the overall award in Southern Ireland in the Community and Rural Category.
Mr. Christy Hanbury CEO of Creative Play Solutions received the award for contractor and Mr. Declan Hallett chairperson of the park Committee received the Client award on behalf of the Park Committee. The awards were Judged by Mr. Gary Graham of Super Garden fame and Creator of Bloom accompanied by Super Garden Manager and Landscape Architect Ms. Kerrie Gardiner. While receiving the award Mr. Graham narrated to the large assembly that “The Park Project was delivered across safety, accessibility and aesthetic metrics on a hard-working space. It was a well finished and built project with a strong local collaboration & well integrated with a beautiful waterside location with a combination of Natural play and pre- designed venture and learning elements. It was a great project and it was obvious it was designed for a community by a community due to the sponsorship of the beautiful trees and many benches which were all specifically laid out in an appropriate manner incorporating a rich Biodiverse setting.” I personally am very impressed by a sculpted wooden bench, created by local artist Willie Fogarty, who sculpted the bench from a tree that was in a local wood in Mount Trenchard. It’s a remarkably beautiful piece of work.
Ms. Kerrie Gardiner stated that both Gary Graham and herself spent several months travelling the country judging the many wonderful projects on show and that she could distinctly remember the day they visited Loughill as it was like a scene from “Angela’s Ashes” due to the heavy rainfall they were met with. However, she stated that the rain did not dampen their visit as they were too engrossed with the beautiful Park setting. She re-iterated what her Co- Judge had stated that Rural Community involvement was obvious from the first viewing of the park and that the design which incorporated accessibility for all ages and abilities was something that both judges immediately agreed on. She had a special mention for the wheelchair accessible trampoline pointing out that it was the best they had witnessed in their nationwide travels and that a young family present had great fun watching the two of them try it out in the rain.
The award comes as no surprise to the general public, or to me. The facility is state-of-the art and is well deserving of its recognition. I have spent many hours in the park since it opened, and every visit is a revelation. Congratulations to all on receiving this award, it will no doubt be the first of many.