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Last Updated: Friday, 20 August, 2004, 14:04 GMT 15:04 UK
Diana fountain reopens to public
Children play in Diana fountain
Children enjoyed themselves despite the restrictions
The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain in London's Hyde Park has reopened to the public following its closure due to safety fears.

The 3.6m memorial was shut in July after three people slipped and injured themselves inside the stone ring.

Six supervisors now manage the site and people are only allowed to dip their feet or hands in the water.

The first visitors welcomed the new rules, although John Loughrey, 49, said it had been a frustrating wait.

He was one of a dozen people who queued behind new fences for the reopening at 0900 BST on Friday.

I don't think it's a recreational area so what they've done is appropriate
William McLean
Australian tourist

Mr Loughrey, 49, who had waited three hours, said it had been "very frustrating" during the weeks the site was shut, but acknowledged the measures were sensible.

"It wasn't given enough thought but it is the right design. We don't want any more accidents."

People arrived in increasing numbers throughout the morning and most said the steps taken by the Royal Parks Agency were necessary.

William McLean, from Australia, told BBC News Online: "I don't think it's a recreational area so what they've done is appropriate.

HAVE YOUR SAY
I am sure she would be laughing now if she could see what these idiots have put together as a memorial
Pete, Milton Keynes, England

"They've made it appear more like a memorial, rather than an integral part of the park, and I really like it. It's an expression of serenity and sincerity."

Children sitting on the fountain's Cornish granite rim said they were happy enough splashing their feet in the water.

Jodie Ellam, 10, from Nottinghamshire, said: "I like everything about it."

New fences mean access to the site can be limited if it gets too busy and signs spell out the rules.

People can sit or stand in the water but not walk or run, while dogs are not allowed near the memorial.

DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES MEMORIAL FOUNTAIN
1 Water enters fountain at highest point, pumped at 100 litres/second.
2 Water travelling east bounces down steps.
3 A specially sculpted channel makes the water rock gently.
4 Water picks up momentum and is invigorated by jets.
5 Water flowing westwards resembles a babbling brook.
6 Air bubbles are introduced as it approaches a waterfall before entering a water feature created by its flow over carved stone.
7 Final destination is the reflecting pool, where water from east and west meet before being pumped out to restart cycle.

The fountain proved very popular when it opened in July and the huge public interest was thought to be the root cause of its problems.

After the accidents, health and safety experts, designers and engineers were called in by the Royal Parks.

John Loughrey
Royalist John Loughrey could not resist an infringement
The report was also discussed with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and a number of recommendations drawn up.

"We called in designers, engineers and health and safety experts," said Greg McErlean, head of Major Projects for The Royal Parks.

"These discussions led everyone to conclude that we had to manage people's interaction with the memorial so that people would sit on the side and dabble their hands and feet but not walk, or in some cases run, around in it."

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has welcomed the new rules.

"[The fountain] has attracted thousands of visitors from around the globe, and while I am delighted with this extraordinary popularity, I also believe that it is at the root of the memorial's recent teething problems," she said.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Nicholas Witchell
"Walking and running in the water are prohibited"



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