Lily’s friends cutting the ribbon to declare the playground open. Pictures: Ian Burt

A playground named in memory of six-year-old Lily Wright has been officially unveiled at Tilney All Saints.

As her friends cut the ribbon, Lily’s Play Area was declared open during a warm summer’s afternoon on Wednesday.

Lily’s parents Emma and Jon Wright, who live in the village, were at the opening ceremony, where there was a raffle, tombola and cake stalls.

They thanked everyone for coming to the opening of Lily’s Playground, and also paid tribute to the community.

 “Since 2019 when Lily was diagnosed with cancer our lives were flipped upside down, we really feel the local community have helped us in more ways than they will ever know and we wish to take this opportunity to thank every single one of you,” they said. 

“Without you, we would not have had a drive-by for Lily during Covid, nor brought Christmas to her early and Halloween.

“Without you, we would not have had a trolley dash around her favourite toy shop, become an angel in the school nativity or have her friends play when she was well enough.”

Emma and Jon said they were “incredibly thankful” to Tilney All Saints Parish Council for naming the playground after their daughter, and said “she would have been the first to play here after school if she were here”.

They added: “The local community have not only helped us make many happy memories to treasure, but also continue to remember Lily as the happy, smiley, funny girl we all loved and adored.”

Lily’s diagnosis of  Paediatric Chordoma, a rare form of childhood cancer, sparked a host of fundraising and awareness raising activities for childhood cancer charities in the name of #teamlily.

After Lily’s death in November 2020, her parents were approached by the parish council which put forward the idea of a new playground in the village being named after their daughter.

Proposals for a play area had been ongoing since 2005, but after the Tilney All Saints Community Association folded in 2012, the project was passed to the parish council. 

Following funds from the parish council, Tilney Charities and a successful bid for Community Infrastructure Levy funding from West Norfolk Council, the project got the go-ahead and work was started three months ago by Fenland Leisure.

Parish clerk Stella Kaye said: “Upon hearing of the sad passing of Lily Wright in 2020 the offer was made by the parish council to the Wright family to name the future play area in Lily’s memory.

“Finally, here we are in 2022 with a lovely play area now in place for the children of Tilney All Saints to enjoy. It has taken over 17 years but we think it has been worth it.”