North East’s most popular parksSchoolchildren have helped to create a new kid’s guide to one of the North East’s most popular parks.

Wharton Park will reopen at the end of May following a £3m, year-long Heritage Lottery Fund, Big Lottery Fund and Durham County Council backed restoration.

And when it does families will find a host of improvements – and information illustrated by youngsters from Framwellgate Primary, with the help of local artist Liz Million.

Cllr Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration, arts and culture, said: “Wharton Park has for almost 160 years proved a popular destination for children and their families.

“From the much loved miniature cars to the amphitheatre shows, play areas and open green spaces there is much to see and do.

“We have already seen how popular a children’s guide can be at Hardwick Park, and I’m sure this new illustrated information booklet will be invaluable to the many thousands of visitors who visit Durham’s ‘People’s Park’.”

The restoration of Wharton Park – which sites on a hillside near the railway station –  has been carried out thanks to £2.45 million from the Heritage Lottery and Big Lottery funds, with additional support from the Council and Durham Area Action Partnership bringing the total investment to £3 million

As part of the project’s outreach work Liz visited Framwellgate School on a number of occasions, holding sessions in which the children helped her design images for the guide, which is a story of the park, told through the eyes of children.

The booklet is left black and white for children to colour in.

Framwellgate School headteacher, Bethan Smith, said: “The children thoroughly enjoyed working with Liz on the guide and it was a fantastic project to bring out their creativity.

“The fact that this guide will go into the park to inform and help visitors is something they can all be extremely proud of.”

Wharton Park reopens at the end of May, with a weekend of family friendly events, including circus performances and workshops, music, arts and crafts, and sporting activities on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29.

The celebration – from 11.00am to 3.00pm each day – will be a chance for families to discover the improvements made to the 4.3 hectares, 158-year-old park and see its potential as a space for future community events.

For more information visit www.durham.gov.uk/whartonpark