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Mum demands action after roundabout collapses at Riverside Country Park in Gillingham

By Lynn Cox

A young boy was left screaming in agony with a fractured kneecap after a roundabout collapsed on top of him at a council-owned play area.

Damien Baker also suffered cuts and bruises after the heavy equipment came crashing down at Gillingham’s Riverside Country Park.

The 10-year-old Academy of Woodlands’ pupil and his younger brother Josh, nine, were there with mum Natasha when it happened.

Damien Baker, 10, fractured his kneecap when the roundabout collapsed
Damien Baker, 10, fractured his kneecap when the roundabout collapsed

The youngster has now got his leg in plaster and will be off school for several weeks.

A large metal ring at the centre of the equipment trapped him until Mrs Baker and other parents managed to lift it.

Another child also suffered bruising in Sunday's accident.

Gillingham resident Mrs Baker said: “There was a commotion and then the children were screaming and crying.

“I ran over to lift it off and others came to help me and the big metal ring was on top of him.

“I was in shock, I could not believe it had happened. I was in a panic, his legs were trapped and he was in agony.

“I would like to thank the three men and the other parents who helped us.

The roundabout collapsed at Riverside Country Park
The roundabout collapsed at Riverside Country Park

“I was very grateful, they even helped him get in the ambulance.”

The play area was given a makeover in 2014 when new £100,000 equipment, including the roundabout, was introduced.

Mrs Baker, 30, added: “The equipment in the park should be safe to use.

“I think it should be inspected on a daily basis, especially in the summer when the park is busier.”

However, Medway Norse – the firm which maintains the Lower Rainham Road park on behalf of the council – says the roundabout has always been found to be in a satisfactory condition.

Mrs Baker added: “I think procedures at the park should be tightened-up.

“Damien is in pain and feeling really traumatised about the whole experience.”

A Medway Norse spokesman said: “We are aware a child was taken to hospital and our thoughts and best wishes are with the injured child and his family for a full and speedy recovery.

The park where the accident happened
The park where the accident happened

“We also know of one other youngster, who we believe suffered minor injuries including bruising.

“We will be liaising with Medway Council as part of our investigation and the relevant piece of equipment will not be in use for the foreseeable future.

“All play equipment in the country park is inspected regularly by our own staff but also independently.

“The item in question has previously always been found to be in satisfactory condition.

“We have checked our records and can find no record of any issues being raised with us about this item.

“We are continuing our investigations.”

“A Medway Council spokesman added: “It is concerning to hear that children have been injured while playing in a park.

“We are working with our contractor, which maintains the play equipment, to fully review the incident and establish the circumstances.”

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