CHLDREN at a Consett school have celebrated the official opening of a new field that will mean the end to them having to cross a busy road to enjoy sports.

Pupils at St Patrick's RC Voluntary Assisted School have had for years, to trek to reach their school playing field.

But now the school has a field on its own property - the latest of a three-phase land swap initiative, which is benefiting a wide cross-section of the community.

Last week England Under-19 footballer Ben Clark was on hand to open the new playing field, followed by a sponsored fun run.

Head teacher Ted Young said: "Until now, this school has never had a facility like this - it is of high quality, well prepared and has perfect dimensions. And it is adjacent to the school and security fenced."

He added: "We are a very sports conscious school and are in the process of applying for the Activemark Gold award."

The success was achieved following three years of negotiations involving Durham County Council, Derwentside District Council, Enterprise 5 Housing Association and Durham Aged Mineworkers' Homes Association, with support from the local bowls club.

The new field is the second of the three phases. The first involved new bungalows for Durham Aged Miners - the third will be a new sheltered housing scheme.