A family theme park known as the home of children’s play has launched a nationwide “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” style golden ticket hunt for five special children to help shape its future.
Wicksteed Park, Kettering, was founded in 1921 by Charles Wicksteed, who invented the modern day slide and swing, as part of his vision to inspire and encourage play as part of families’ health and well-being.
It is now looking for five children to play a leading role in planning future developments and attractions – with one lucky youngster being given a place on the board of directors.
The search mirrors the plot of Roald Dahl’s famous story, published 50 years ago this year, made into a 2005 film starring Johnny Depp and currently breaking records as a Sam Mendes-directed West End musical starring Douglas Hodge and Nigel Planer.
The golden ticket search will be launched at a free Playday event on February 19, which is part of the park’s drive to continue that legacy by encouraging children – and adults – to get out into the fresh air and have fun.
Every child attending on the day will be able to open an envelope to see if there is a golden ticket inside. Anyone booking tickets for the park online before the end of February will also qualify for an envelope.
The free event will encourage families to get out and enjoy the fresh air in the 147-acre country park and will feature a host of traditional fun activities and games, such as pick-up sticks, a giant footprint mural, stone painting, as assault course, a dressing up tent and a giant polystyrene pool.
Wicksteed Park is currently undergoing a £2million lake restoration project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to further encourage people to enjoy its 147 acres of countryside.
Wicksteed Park Managing Director Alasdair McNee said: “Charles Wicksteed was a pioneer in the field of children’s play. In fact, you could say he did for children’s play what Willy Wonka did for chocolate!
“The park has a wonderful heritage and history, which is rightly celebrated, but we are now looking to the younger generation to help us plan the future.
“The five golden ticket winners will be given a guided tour of the park and we are really excited to hear their thoughts and ideas.
“There is one place open on our board for the child with the best ideas to have a key role in what we do in the future.
“We hold regular free Playdays throughout the year, so what better place to start the search for our five lucky winners.”
In his 1928 book, A Plea for Children’s Recreation after School Hours and after School Age, Charles Wicksteed outlined his ethos on children’s play when he said: “I have good reason to believe that the park I have formed has changed the lives for the better, to a greater or lesser extent of thousands of children.
“I have direct evidence from mothers how whining, pale-faced children, complaining of any food they get, have come back with healthy faces and rosy complexions, ready to eat the house out after a good play in the playground.”
The beautiful country park, one of the oldest in the UK, combines a wide range of attractions for all ages with the largest free playground in Europe.
The popular visitor attraction combines rollercoasters, rides and attractions with the tranquility and relaxation of an historic grade II country park and a nature reserve run by the Wildlife Trust.
For further information on Play Day and to book tickets for the park, go to: www.wicksteedpark.co.uk
Issued on behalf of Wicksteed Park
For further information, please contact:
Andrew Turner – Andrew Turner Public Relations