Full speed ahead for innovation at Wicksteed Park’s Soapbox Derby

Charles Wicksteed’s reputation for engineering and innovation will be kept alive when amateur racers take part in this year’s Soapbox Derby at Wicksteed Park. The event, on Saturday June 17, will see up to 100 karts tackle a downhill course close to the park’s campsite, with prizes for the best dressed team, most spectacular cornering and most entertaining run alongside trophies for the fastest teams. The event 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. It maintains the park’s reputation for innovation and highlights 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, creating rides and attractions which played a key role in the development of children’s play. “The Soapbox Derby is great fun and encourages people to be innovative and create something unique, just like Charles did.” The Soapbox Derby takes the form of a time trial for non-power assisted karts run over an inclined course with a left hand bend at the bottom and the first runs will take place from 11.30am. The course begins at the top of the hill with competitors navigating a speed hump outside the old Golf House, now The Studio, next to the camp site, and runs down the hill towards...

Thousands to see History come to life at Wicksteed at War 2017

Twenty thousand visitors are set to see history come to life when the annual Wicksteed At War free family event returns to Wicksteed Park from June 9 – 11. The Military Vehicle Trust has joined organisers to put on a spectacular programme of events and attractions, including fly-bys and battle reenactments. A full arena of entertainment and stalls will also help provide a wonderful day out for all the family. Highlights of the 2017 show will include more than 120 military vehicles including modern main battle tanks and tracked fighting vehicles and more than 30 re-enactment groups, including World War Two and the Vietnam War. There will also be a dedicated Tank Park and Fighting Vehicle History Walk Through. The main arena timetable will include two major period battles on each day, educational vehicle parades, a light tank stunt team and fun themed actives with fighting vehicles. The show’s successful education day, designed for children from 7-14, will also be held again on Friday June 9, with 300 spaces available for local schools. Wicksteed Park marketing co-ordinator Marie Phillips said: “Wicksteed At War is a fantastic event for all the family and a great opportunity for children and adults alike to learn more about what actually happened and how the war affected families just like theirs.” There will also be a series of fly pasts by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, including: Saturday June 10: • Spitfire (British WW2 Fighter Plane) • Hurricane (British WW2 Fighter Plane) • Lancaster (British WW2 Bomber) Sunday June 11: • Dakota (Military Transport Aircraft) Visitors can visit the Wicksteed Mess between 11am...

First ever playground slide re-created

A re-creation of the first ever playground slide has been unveiled, at the park where modern children’s play equipment was invented. Charles Wicksteed created swings and slides as part of his vision to inspire and encourage play as part of families’ health and well-being. The first ever slide was installed at Wicksteed Park, Kettering, after he opened it to the public in 1921 and was an instant hit with local children, leading to be park becoming known as the home of children’s play. Now the iconic playground favourite, complete with wooden steps and sturdy timber planks bolted together to make a 30ft long slide, has been re-created as part of the park’s project to bring the history of children’s play to life. It is based on original drawings of the first slide so modern day children can experience the same thrills that their counterparts did back in the 1920s – and it has already proved a hit ahead of its official opening next month. Charles Wicksteed, who made his fortune in engineering, opened Wicksteed Park to encourage young people and families to enjoy unrestricted outdoor play. Before then, public parks were typically very formal places, where children were warned to keep off the grass. The joy the children got from his primitive swings and slides pushed him on to create more and more play equipment, which became so popular that it was exported around the world. In his 1928 book, A Plea for Children’s Recreation after School Hours and after School Age, Charles proclaimed: “I have good reason to believe that the park I have formed has changed the lives...

Wicksteed Park Launches Sway Rider

Wicksteed Park, near Kettering, combines 147 acres of beautiful parkland with attractions such as rollercoasters and rides to ensure a great time for the whole family, no matter what their budget. The park has a host of new attractions for 2017, including the fantastic new Sway Rider wave swing. The park’s attractions include the RUSH zipwire and activity tower which includes one of the longest and fastest zipwires in the UK and an Air Bag Jump. Visitors can also get close to the animals and explore the rope courses and overground tunnels of the Sycamore Circle. The park has also just launched its Tree Top Walk, a 90-metre walkway of activities and obstacles suitable for adults and children alike. Also new is Meerkat Burrows, an underground tunnelling experience with pop up viewing areas to allow you to see the park’s meerkats up close. People can also enjoy the new Snakes & Ladders dropslide as well as the farmyard experience for younger children. It has top quality camping facilities overlooking the lake, with facilities including a refurbished toilet and shower block, catering and the new Ideas cafe. Wristbands are the best and best value way to enjoy the park’s attractions so remember to book online to save money on the price. Stay at the park and save £4 per child and £1 per adult on wristbands for your second...

Explore Charles Wicksteed’s Legacy of Innovation During British Science Week

People are being invited to learn more about Charles Wicksteed’s legacy of innovation at two free events being held at Wicksteed Park during British Science Week. The two Science Cafes will take place in the park’s Heritage Space and will introduce people to science in an informal way over coffee and cake. People will be able to explore engineering and ecology and explore the extraordinary legacy of Charles Wicksteed, focusing on his life as an entrepreneur, inventor, innovator and successful engineer. In 1928, when the park he created was still in its infancy, Charles Wicksteed said: “We live in wonderful days of almost embarrassing advance in science and industry.” The science cafes are the only free community access British Science Week events in Northamptonshire. f On Tuesday March 14, from 10:45am to noon, computing, robotics and artificial intelligence expert Dr Scott Turner, Associate Professor (Computing & Immersive Technologies) based at University of Northampton will lead a talk about Junkbots, a project that combined environmental sustainability, engineering and computing alongside a current research “Visualising the Field”. On Thursday March 16, from 10:45am to noon Paul Wyer of the Wildlife Trust will speak about the wildlife on your doorstep, in your gardens or around the park’s lake. Find out more about their habitats and impacts on the natural environment and what you can do to maintain and increase local wildlife. Paul has a specialist interest in hedgehogs and will bring along a range of information for people to view. Tracey Clarke, Wicksteed Park’s Community Link Manager, said: “British Science Week is a great way for people to find out more about...

150 Jobs Up For Grabs At Wicksteed Park Recruitment Drive

One hundred and fifty full and part time jobs have been announced at Wicksteed Park as it gears up for the start of its summer 2017 season. The home of children’s play in Kettering is holding recruitment days on Wednesday March 1 (4pm to 7pm) and Saturday March 4 (10am to 4pm) in the park’s Pavilion. Following the selection process for jobs across all parts of the park, including catering, rides, attractions and customer service, all recruits will be given full training before the park’s officially opens fully for season on Saturday April 1. Many of those who fill the temporary jobs each year are students and some will do three or four years in a row or stay and become full members of staff. In fact, some of the most senior employees at the park began their careers in part-time or seasonal roles. The park also encourages older, more experienced applicants. Wicksteed Park was created by founder Charles Wicksteed as part of his vision to inspire and encourage play and outdoor exercise as part of families’ health and well-being. It has a host of new attractions for 2017, including the fantastic new Sway Rider wave swing. Visitors can also get close to the animals and explore the rope courses and overground tunnels of the Sycamore Circle. The park’s attractions include the RUSH zipwire and activity tower which includes one of the longest and fastest zipwires in the UK and an Air Bag Jump. The park has also just launched its Tree Top Walk, a 90-metre walkway of activities and obstacles suitable for adults and children alike. Also new is...