MOST children who don’t have a decent playground in their village would go back inside and slump in front of the TV.

These youngsters are not so easily deterred.

The children from Sandford on Thames spent five years planning their dream playground then raised £50,000 to build it.

This month, after years of dreaming and scheming, their new jungle gym, zip wire, swings and hobbit hole went up at Sandford’s recreation field.

And on Saturday, June 4, they officially cut the ribbon on the village’s gleaming new dream playground.

Dozens of people have leant a hand to the campaign, but just three youngsters led the fight.

Lawrence Harkin, Cissie Roxburgh and Sophie Fox were aged seven, eight and nine when they began their crusade in 2011.

Now they are celebrating success as young adults.

Oxford Mail:

Lawrence, now aged 11 and a pupil at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Headington, said: “It’s great – it’s bigger than we ever could have imagined.”

Cissie, 12, who goes to St Gregory the Great School in East Oxford, said: “I never thought we could get this far.

“At first we just wanted to get a new zip wire but the project started getting bigger and bigger so we thought – let’s do the whole playground.”

In 2011, the play equipment at Sandford recreation ground was old, broken and uninspiring.

That summer, a group of seven children, including Lawrence, Cissie and Sophie, formed Sandford Youth Playground Group. Their aim was to create “a safe, welcoming place where young people can be themselves”.

They visited other playgrounds to get inspiration and ideas then drafted a survey to collect local opinions.

On Saturday, June 2, 2012, volunteers hosted a Big Jubilee Lunch and raised the first £160.82 towards the playground.

After that the campaign snowballed and the group printed more surveys and leaflets, sold sweets on Saturday markets and picked up pledges from locals.

In July 2014, they presented their work to Sandford on Thames Parish Council for the first time and councillors unanimously voted to contribute £1,450.

Oxford Mail:

Community group Sandford Talking Shop donated £3,395 and Oxfordshire county councillor Lorraine Lindsay-Gale contributed £1,000 from her Big Society budget.

When they had more than £5,000 in the bag, the children went for the gold – they made an application to grant body WREN for £50,000.

They had to submit a lengthy application form documenting all the efforts they had made and how they had raised all the money.

It could have all failed at that point, but they needn’t have worried as WREN approved the grant and work began in April.

The gear is all ready to use now, in time for a summer of fun.

Abi Johnson of community group Sandford Talking Shop said the whole village was impressed with the youngsters’ determination and drive.

She said: “It is a fantastic new playground. The equipment is challenging and interesting for wide range of ages. There is an area for older children, a zip wire, a separate area with equipment more suitable for younger children.”