A WILDLIFE garden was officially opened by a Middlesbrough footballer yesterday (Wednesday, December 5).

Middlesbrough Football Club star Connor Ripley opened the wildlife garden in Normanby as part of a festive event that also featured visits from Father and Mother Christmas as well as carol singing and face painting.

Around sixty people showed up to explore the garden, which hosts a pond, plants planted by local school children, bird and bat boxes and new tables and seating.

The garden was created by the Normanby Community Forum, which received a £12,500 lottery grant to develop an unused patch of land on Normanby Road.

Val Maynard, secretary of the community forum, said: "I was really pleased with the turn out, it was teeming with snow but everyone still turned out to support us.  It was a picturesque, if perishing event.  Come the spring, the garden will be a really nice attraction."