Press Release |

Full Speed Ahead For Wicksteed Park’s Soap Box Derby

Amateur racers will keep alive Charles Wicksteed’s legacy of engineering and innovation when they tackle this year’s Soap Box Derby at Wicksteed Park. The event, on Saturday June 16, will see 60 home-built karts tackle a downhill course close to the park’s campsite, with both juniors and seniors competing for prizes. The event is now in its fourth year and is rapidly growing into one of the best events of its kind in the country. It encourages competitors to use their ingenuity and imagination to create vehicles capable of tackling the course, with the thrills and spills attracting competitors and spectators from across the region. Karts will be on parade from 11.30am with the first timed runs from noon and an awards ceremony at 5pm The event maintains the park’s reputation for innovation and highlights the extraordinary legacy of the park’s creator Charles Wicksteed, and his life as an entrepreneur, inventor, innovator and successful engineer. Charles invented the modern day slide and swing as part of his dream to encourage families to enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle. Tracey Clarke, Wicksteed Park’s Community Link Manager, said: “Charles Wicksteed was at the forefront of innovation and engineering and the Soap Box Derby encourages people to be innovative and create something unique, just like he did. “Families can have a free, fun-filled afternoon cheering on up to 60 home built Soap Box Karts on a downhill challenge against the clock. “The event is growing in interest nationally, with a strong ‘build-your-own’ focus. It is low cost fun for all of the family and an event where groups of enthusiasts come together to put...

Global Appeal Launched To Recreate The World’s First Children’s Playground

The park known as the home of children’s play has launched a global search to find the iconic top ten attractions which graced the world’s first playgrounds. Wicksteed Park, Kettering, the birthplace of modern-day play equipment, plans to bring the items home and give them a new lease of life as part of its @Play project funded by The National Lottery. The restored pieces of play equipment will take pride of place in the world’s first Heritage Play Area, being created at the park and featuring original Wicksteed play equipment. The park was founded in 1921 by Charles Wicksteed, the creator of swings and slides as we know them today, as part of his vision to inspire and encourage play as part of families’ health and well-being. The play equipment he manufactured in Kettering was exported around the world and their appeal made playgrounds such an integral part of growing up for generations of children. The top ten has been drawn up by the Wicksteed Charitable Trust, which was formed to ensure Charles’ work and his park continued long after his death. They are keen for people with any heritage items of Wicksteed play equipment to get in touch. The Heritage Play Area already boasts a replica of the park’s first wooden slide and an old playground rocking horse, which was restored to its former glory after being rescued from a ditch near Margate where it had been abandoned and left to rust. The top ten favourites are: 1) Wooden slide 2) Swing 3) Seesaw 4) All metal slide 5) Giant stride 6) Merry go round 7) All Metal rocking...

Thousands To Celebrate Centenary Of RAF at Wicksteed at War 2018

Twenty thousand visitors are set to celebrate the centenary of the RAF when the annual Wicksteed At War free family event returns to Wicksteed Park from June 8 – 10. One of the main highlights of this year’s event will be a celebration of everything the world’s first independent air force has achieved since 1918, both in protecting the nation and preserving freedom around the world. Among the attractions will be: Flypasts by a World War Two Lancaster Bomber and Spitfire fighter plane from The Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight  A World War Two Spitfire and a Messerschmitt ME109 on display  The cockpit and nose section of the famous Avro Shackleton 1950s long-range maritime patrol plane A working display of a 1200hp Merlin engine as used in the Lancaster Bomber. A Flight Simulator for practising your flying skills   The Military Vehicle Trust, a charitable organisation dedicated to the conservation of ex-military vehicles, has joined organisers to put on a spectacular programme of events and attractions. A full arena of battle re-enactments, entertainment and stalls will also help provide a wonderful day out for all the family. Highlights of the 2018 show will also include more than 150 military vehicles including modern main battle tanks and tracked fighting vehicles and more than 30 re-enactment groups, including World War Two and the Saxons. To mark women’s involvement in the world wars the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, the British independent all-female registered charity formed in 1907 and active in both nursing and intelligence work, will be exhibiting their horses and a World War One hospital. There will also be...

Wicksteed Park announces community partnership with Isebrook SEN College

Ambitious Wicksteed Park and Isebrook SEN Cognition & Learning College have agreed a ground-breaking partnership which will promote inclusion for some of the most vulnerable people in our community. It will also enhance the professional development of staff as well as raising awareness of diversity, inclusion and disability confidence. The exciting new project will provide opportunities for young people from the college, on Eastleigh Road, Kettering, to gain experience of the world of work through work experience and a new supported internship programme. Park staff will also be offered the chance to learn more about the challenges faced by students and adults with multiple and complex needs. Wicksteed Park, Kettering, has been entertaining families for nearly 100 years and is currently undergoing a £4.5m rejuvenation project to renovate its historic heart and bring its heritage alive to all visitors. With its 147 acres of wonderful countryside, rides and attractions it is a unique venue and the perfect place for young people to learn about the world of work. Tracey Clarke, Wicksteed Park Community Link Manager, said: “Isebrook caters for students from 11-18 years old with a range of complex educational needs and this is a very exciting partnership for us, showing that we are really committed to our community programme. “A lot of companies talk about community engagement, but this is something that is really happening and we are incredibly proud of this partnership and what we hope to achieve.” Gareth Ivett, Assistant Headteacher at Isebrook SEN College, commented: “This is a really exciting partnership that will be beneficial for both organisations. As a college we are committed to enhancing...

Wicksteed Park announces three super daytime shows for 2018

Wicksteed Park is excited to announce a fantastic line up of daytime shows for 2018. Twist and Shout, Sing As We Go and the Christmas Variety Spectacular will set the park’s Edwardian pavilion rocking and the family-friendly fun and entertainment will be delivered by nationally-acclaimed Songbook Productions. It brings together the UK’s leading performers, choreographers, costume designers and creative professionals to produce superb shows. Under the direction of renowned director David Kettle, the shows will provide West End quality entertainment in the heart of the park’s 147 acres of marvelous countryside. The pavilion’s new chef will ensure that daytime show guests will enjoy a scrummy feast as well as a welcome drink and a tasty pastry on arrival. Twist and Shout is a nostalgic and fun-packed musical journey through the sounds of the 60s. It is a non-stop musical extravaganza featuring more than 40 songs, a live band and a cast of six singers and dancers performing hits like She Loves You and Glad All Over and I’m Into Something Good. The show will be performed on September 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27. Sing As We Go celebrates the centenary of the end of World War One. This warm-hearted and fun show tells the story of troops who are determined to entertain their colleagues in the face of adversity. Soldiers caught in the trenches keep their spirits high by listening to the radio girls back home, who brighten up their days by singing songs over the airwaves. The boys at war start writing letters to the radio show, which are read out on...

120 jobs up for grabs at Recruitment Drive

One hundred and twenty full and part time jobs have been announced at Wicksteed Park as it gears up for one of the most exciting periods in its history. The home of children’s play in Kettering is holding recruitment days in the park’s Pavilion on Wednesday February 28 (4pm to 7pm) and Saturday March 3 (10am to 4pm). Jobs are available across all parts of the park, including catering, rides, attractions and customer service and all recruits will be given full training before the park officially opens fully for the season on Thursday March 29. The Kettering park was founded in 1921 by Charles Wicksteed as part of his vision to inspire and encourage play as part of families’ health and well-being and has just begun one of its most thrilling chapters. Work has begun on a £4.5million plan to bring the history and heritage of the park alive to all visitors. The Historic Heart project will restore the central Piazza and Precinct which will provide an improved welcome to the park. It will be surrounded by restored original bungalows which will be used for information centres, the manufacture and sale of Wicksteed Ice Cream and community activities. Historic views will be restored and work has also already begun on creating a Heritage Play Area, featuring original or replica Wicksteed play equipment. There are also lots of new attractions for visitors to enjoy at the park this year, such as Sycamore Circle, which provides a wonderful blend of nature and fun. Children can also clamber over the branches of Spider Oaks or brave the Tree Top Walk, a 90-metre...