Your Chance To Claim A Place In History As Wicksteed Park Launches New Boats For Refurbished Lake |

Your Chance To Claim A Place In History As Wicksteed Park Launches New Boats For Refurbished Lake

Wicksteed Park is giving people the chance to claim a place in history, by naming one of the eight new rowing boats which will grace its refurbished lake.

The park has benefitted from the £2million restoration project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to return its lake to former glories and has unveiled a host of new attractions for 2014.

The lake has been returned to its former glory, with 50,000 cubic meters of lake silt being removed and the lake deepened, making it much easier to row boats.

Boating on the lake was one of the major attractions when it was formerly opened in 1921 by founder Charles Wicksteed as part of his vision to inspire and encourage play as part of families’ health and well-being.

It was a regular venue for regattas and family boating trips.

To mark the lake restoration, eight new rowing boats are currently being built by famous Oxfordshire boat builders Salter’s, who have been building boats since 1858.

The park is now asking people to suggest names for the boats, which will begin service on the lake in a couple of months’ time.

The eight winners will each have their winning names, alongside their own name, on a boat for a minimum of a year and will also win a family day out at the park for four people.

Community Link Manager Charlotte Widgery has been appointed, as part of the restoration project, to oversee a string of initiatives to animate the improved lakeside area.

She said: “Everywhere you look in the park there is a piece of history and we thought it would be a lovely idea to give people a chance to create their own little piece of history too.

“Their names will be associated with the historic lake restoration and people using the lake will see the winning names on the sides of the new boats.

“We want the names to be connected to Wicksteed Park’s history and be no more than two words long but the competition is open to everyone, young and old.”

Entries to be submitted by email to or posted to the park marked FAO Charlotte Widgery.

The closing date is Thursday May 1 2014 (winners will be notified within three weeks – judge’ decision is final).

Other new attractions at the park for 2014 include bund play tunnels constructed out of natural materials to encourage children to crawl and explore, a Bah Humbug hand-made sweet shop, Waxhands hand modelling and a refurbished café.

The lake restoration also comprises:

  • A new beach area where families can land a kayak and go off to explore other parts of the park and where people can paddle, unsupervised, in the lake.
  • The conservation of the currently redundant roundhouse, a 1924 lakeside shelter, which will be repaired, bringing it back into use as a focus for lakeside activities.
  • Creation of a large amphitheatre, new pathways around the lake and arboretum, and the creation of water play areas for children.

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Notes to editors:

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported almost 36,000 projects with more than £5.9bn across the UK.