Playbarn project at Lower Hacheston in memory of two children opens in spring

A Suffolk father who is building a playbarn in memory of two of his children that died at very young ages says momentum behind the project is gathering pace.

It is hoped to be open for business around late spring.

Farmer Guy Hayward, 43, said the response to the idea of a new playbarn in the area has been “overwhelming”, with many enquiries already and some families have attended the site in Lower Hacheston, before it has even opened.

He began work on the playbarn more than a year ago to serve as a lasting tribute to his children and to keep their memory living on by benefitting other families.

The idea arose following the tragic loss of two young children – Mr Hayward’s 15-month-old son Oliver, who died in his cot in 2001, and his daughter Star, who died under similar circumstances in 2011, aged just 28 days.

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Mr Hayward, who has three other children, aged between two and 16, said the project has kept him positive in his and his family’s grief.

He said: “We’ve had lots of fantastic responses from people locally saying what a lovely thing it is.”

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The Oliver Hayward Playbarn will offer a soft play area for around 15 children, aged up to seven years, at any one time. Mr Hayward has also put a lot of thought into the needs of the parents, by providing a cafe serving hot and cold drinks, and locally- sourced snacks, along with free wi-fi in very comfortable surroundings.

In recent months, he has teamed up with East Anglia Children’s Hospice (EACH), and will be supporting them through a percentage of profits made from the venture. Further details will follow.

As the building nears completion Mr Hayward says it has given him some “sleepless nights but also very excited”

“It is really starting to build momentum now and is going to be a very special place and I am indebted to all who have and are helping me realise this dream.

“I just wish Oliver and Star could see this” He added.

To find out more about the playbarn and its upcoming opening, email

Mr Hayward is also recruiting for the playbarn and says interested candidates can contact him via the same email address.

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