Opening of new square kicks off the festivities - Video

The opening of Doncaster’s new public square made a splash of a different kind as brollies and raincoats were out in force.

However, the downpours failed to dampen spirits as young and old came to witness the official unveiling of the centre piece of Waterdale’s new £300 million Civic and Cultural Quarter.

Mayor Peter Davies cuts the ribbon at the opening of Sir Nigel Gresley Square. Picture: Andrew Roe

Mayor Peter Davies cuts the ribbon at the opening of Sir Nigel Gresley Square. Picture: Andrew Roe

The Big Launch event, Doncaster’s contribution to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, saw the square awash with colourful canopies and red, white and blue bunting - but with relentless grey clouds overhead.

Mayor Peter Davies cut the ribbon to mark the opening of Sir Nigel Gresley Square - named by Free Press readers in a public vote - to a backdrop of live music, fire eating, theatre and much more.

He described the unveiling of the new space - named after the famous railway engineer who created the likes of legendary locos such as Mallard and the Flying Scotsman as “an important day for Doncaster” which he hoped would “breathe new life” into the Waterdale area.

Artist Michael Johnson, who created the centrepiece sculpture of the new square, a towering eight metre high piece entitled Danum, was also in attendance. The £60,000 steel and bronze work represents the town’s history through more than 1,000 images.

But the main attraction on an already rain-soaked day were the new walk-through fountains with scores of youngsters shrugging off the downpours to splash around among the water jets.

Mum Kirsty Donald of Skellow, whose daughter Alice was one to brave the fountains said: “The square is lovely and I hope it brings people out. The weather is a shame, but that’s Britain for you.”

Fellow visitor Margaret Dunstan of Hyde Park said: “I think it will be lovely down here when the sun’s shining - a really nice place to come and sit.”

Town centre manager Roy Dean, whose team worked through the wet weather from 8am for the 1pm opening, shrugged off the showers and said: “The response has been incredible despite the weather. We’re really pleased with the turn out.”