Max, 15, is special guest at opening of play park he campaigned for

Daily Echo: Max Hotchin. Max Hotchin.

“LOOK what I’ve done!”

Hampshire teenager Max Hotchin looked on proudly as guest of honour at the opening of a new children’s play park that he campaigned for.

Max persuaded civic chiefs to replace the 50-year-old play equipment near his home.

Town hall bosses even made him an honorary member of a sub-committee that was formed to oversee the project.

The £108,000 scheme at Howards Mead, Pennington, has been funded by New Forest District Council and the Veolia Environmental Trust.

Max, 15, of Maple Court, Pennington, said: “Improvements to the park were being talked about when my mum was 15 – she’s now 43.

“Old wooden equipment has finally been replaced with new facilities.

“I’m very pleased with the outcome.”

The new facility was opened by Lymington’s mayor, Councillor Anna Rostand, who unveiled a plaque praising the teenager’s contribution to the long-awaited project.

“It just shows what can be achieved when the council works in partnership with members of the community, whatever their age,” said Cllr Rostand.

“I wish Max every success in the future. He’s a really nice kid – and a great organiser.”

The Priestlands School pupil was guest of honour at the opening of the new play area, which includes a kickabout zone for older children.

Town clerk Steve Cridland said: “The previous equipment dated from the 1960s and was well past its sell-by date.

“Max was at a function attended by Cllr Rostand and asked her why they couldn’t have a decent play area at Howards Mead.

“She came back inspired by what he’d said and things went from there.

“We asked Max to find out what the kids wanted and what they didn’t.

“The play area should have been improved four or five years ago but for various reasons the council wasn’t able to proceed at that time.”

The district council donated £87,000 and Veolia also helped make the dream a reality by contributing £21,000.

Mr Cridland added: “The community asked for a new play area and it’s now in place, providing them with what they themselves identified as important.

“I hope they’ll get many years of enjoyment from this facility and will take good care of the equipment.”

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