MOST office staff ask if they can have a new mouse, a bigger stapler or a plusher chair — but Rachel Ayre wanted a ball pit at her desk.

The 24-year-old marketing executive at recruitment firm Forward Role saw a customised ball pit to make office life brighter as she was trawling the internet for something else.

Miss Ayre, the youngest and only woman among the seven-strong staff at the Calvin Street office, said: “It just popped up and I thought it was a great idea, so I asked my boss, Steve Thompson, if I could have one. He was a bit surprised, but this is a fun office and he said I could have one if I got 1,000 likes for the company on LinkedIn by the following Monday.”

Mr Thompson admits he did not think Miss Ayre would be able to get anywhere near that number of likes on the professional network website. “It’s pretty difficult to get likes on LinkedIn, so I felt that promise was safe,” he said.

But Miss Ayre was determined and posted on LinkedIn: “Steve Thompson has agreed to turn my desk area into a ball pit just like this if I get 1,000 likes. This would absolutely make my life.”

Just two hours later she had her 1,000 likes.

Miss Ayre said: “Many of our clients are in social media, so I did realise I’d get some support for this.

“We’re well-known as a creative office, and I think the fact it was Friday afternoon helped.”

Over the weekend, however, she did wonder whether her boss would be as good as his word.

But on Monday morning she arrived at the office to find a custom-made ball pit filled with coloured balls built in to her desk.

“I was completely overwhelmed,” she said. “It’s absolutely great.”

Mr Thompson, who started Forward Role five years ago, kept his promise and went to B&Q on Monday to get pieces of MDF cut for the pit, then put the whole thing together.

“I couldn’t wait to see her face,” he said. “But I never thought I’d start the week sorting out a ball pit. I’ve no complaints at all, though — we’re in the marketing business and it’s been a great way to get positive PR.”

Miss Ayre kicked off her shoes and settled into her new ball pit “home”.

“It just feels great on the feet,” she said. “It’s relaxing and enjoyable while I’m working — and I think Steve’s great for doing this.”

So, what next for her desk?

Miss Ayre said: “I’ve told Steve I think we should fill the office with balls because they’re so much fun — but I don’t think he’ll agree to that.”

Forward Role’s head office is in Calvin Street, Bolton, and it also has an office in Manchester. Clients include and Matalan.