Pétanque players and councillors gather for the opening of the pétanque terrain in Radnor Park, Folkestone Credit: Folkestone & Hythe District Council

Pétanque players now have a special area in Folkestone’s Radnor Park to enjoy their sport – the French game played on a hard surface with small metal balls is becoming increasingly popular and local players have raised funds to pay for a pétanque terrain large enough for two games to be played side by side.

The group first got together three years ago and played previously on a turfed area in the park but as enthusiasm grew for the game, the players decided to fundraise to pay for proper pitches. Events were held and Folkestone Town Council awarded a £3,000 grant with councillors also supporting with money from their ward grants.

The Tory Family Foundation which offers grants to organisations providing community facilities gave £5,000 which helped the group hit its final target and construction began. The terrain was completed at the end of last year and the district council has installed benches, a noticeboard and planted trees in the area.

Player and one of the fund raisers Christine Upton said:

“Meeting up in the park means getting us outside regularly in both summer and winter, getting fresh air and exercise which is so important especially for retired people.

“We have great fun and have built up strong friendships since we started playing.    We have got to know several dog walkers and it is lovely to see this corner of the park being used especially in the summer when families often have picnics here, away from the noise of the busy main road.”

 At an official opening of the pitches, Mayor of Folkestone, Cllr Abena Akuffo-Kelly said:

“Radnor is a beautiful park and there is something here for all ages.

“There is really nothing better than being out in the sunshine, enjoying the fresh air and socialising. It makes us happy and adds to our longevity. I am really glad that the town now has this facility which I hope is enjoyed for many years to come.”

Cllr Jeremy Speakman, Cabinet member for the district council’s assets and operations said:

“I am very glad that the district council was able to make this happen after the players worked so hard to raise the necessary funds. The game brings another aspect to this park and I am delighted to see it.”

Anyone wanting to play can do so for free. Just bring your own set of petanque boules. The basic rules are on the nearby noticeboard and there is a QR code to scan for more information.

By Ed

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