THERE were cheers all round at the opening of a new facility for young people.

The doors to Riverside Park’s new multi-use games area, or MUGA, were unlocked by city mayor councillor Les Harris and his wife Beryl.

And overseeing the event was Bitterne Park resident Doug Perry, 85, who as chair of the Friends of Riverside Park has worked for more than 11 years to get the project off the ground.

Now – with funding from Veolia Environmental Services and Southampton City Council, who shared the cost of £52,000 – Mr Perry said it is open for the people of Southampton to enjoy.

He said: “Eleven years ago we asked the children what they wanted, and they all asked for some basketball hoops. Now they’ve got basketball, netball, five a side and cage cricket. The council have moved so quickly on this – it’s only taken nine months from putting the application in.”

The pitch will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, though there is no lighting for when it is dark.

Mayor Harris added: “I’m very proud of how everyone has worked together on this.”