KZN’s largest jungle gym born from picnic romance in the park

2013-04-15 00:00

ANTON and Cheryl Venter’s home overlooks Growing Parks in Chase Valley, the park where they met for the first time 44 years ago. The park now holds the largest jungle gym in KZN, which Anton Venter (62) built from scratch using only photographs as a blueprint.

Venter, a retired plumber, was approached by Farhana Vally, the manager of Growing Parks, to build the jungle gym last year. Venter saw the project as an exciting challenge. “I had never built a jungle gym before and thought why not?”

Building the jungle gym in that park was also significant to him as it was the park he played in as a child and where he met Cheryl, his wife of 41 years.

Cheryl said: “Being a plumber, he has always been good with his hands. He did it all with only one helper to aid him. When we were children we always used to have big Sunday school picnics in that park, and now our grandkids are also enjoying it, it’s wonderful.”

It took Venter two months to complete the project. Vally said it was amazing how Venter accomplished the project. “He worked out all his plans just from photographs of a jungle gym. He worked out the scale the poles must be by looking at my husband in the pictures next to the jungle gym. Also, he used gadgets and he measured the depth of each hole so that the poles are all the exact height above the ground. Such was the precision of Anton’s work, all done in unbearable heat. He and his wife are amazing people,” said Vally.

The jungle gym is 26 metres by 26 metres and eight metres high. Since its completion in October last year, it has become very popular in the park. Vally said she was “very grateful” to Venter as the jungle gym has attracted lots of visitors to the park and is a great source of fun for children.

“Parks are such an important part of our society. They are spaces for children to grow and be free.”

Venter has since been commissioned to build more jungle gyms for schools.

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