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Legacy for village after plant closure

PUBLISHED: 13:30 01 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:29 03 March 2010

For 40 years it was a landmark that towered over the Ipswich landscape.

But now Blue Circle's 400-foot chimney has turned to dust, the cement company has left another legacy which sees youngsters scale new heights of an altogether different sort.

For 40 years it was a landmark that towered over the Ipswich landscape.

But now Blue Circle's 400-foot chimney has turned to dust, the cement company has left another legacy which sees youngsters scale new heights of an altogether different sort.

Toddlers at the Claydon Playgroup in the neighbouring village to the former Masons Works have been able to buy a brand new climbing frame thanks to a £300 donation from the firm, which has spent the last two years dismantling its Great Blakenham factory.

"Without Blue Circle we just wouldn't have been able to afford this equipment. It's been a real help," said playgroup fundraiser Carol Cook, who used to manage Masons Works' education centre.

The group is making a bid to rename itself as a pre-school and is currently fundraising to carry out an overhaul of its curriculum and equipment.

The money is not the only thing to have gone to good use. More than 60,000 tonnes of materials have been recovered from the site, including 25,000 tonnes of steel and concrete which has been recycled for use in new building projects.

Just 2,000 tonnes was thrown away in landfill sites, say company bosses.

Thanking residents for their support during the demolition and clearance phase of the clear-up operation, project manager Julian Taylor said it was to important to acknowledge the "spirit and support of the local community".

After shutting down in 1999, the 200-acre site was handed over to its new owners, Onslow Investments Co yesterday.

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