Our Trustees

Wicksteed Park has some very generous trustees that help the park continue the work of Charles Wicksteed to the standard we would like for our guests.

Oliver Wicskteed
Oliver Wicskteed

Oliver Wicksteed DL

Oliver Wicksteed has been a Trustee of the Wicksteed Charitable Trust since 1999 and became Chairman in 2006. During the ensuing years Oliver has driven significant strategic change, built a strong and diverse Trust board and put in place a dynamic management team. Together they are delivering a successful and sustainable business model that supports and funds the charity at Wicksteed Park which is an important heritage site within Northamptonshire.

Oliver is enormously proud of this heritage and has a great deal to offer from a commercial and heritage perspective. He has overseen a period of great change at Wicksteed Park including reaching out to bodies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund and successfully attracting significant funding to help recognise and preserve the rich heritage. After major restoration projects in recent years, community engagement and visitor numbers have significantly increased to over 800,000 each year underpinning Wicksteed Park’s position as a key destination in the county. He has also been very active in forming partnerships with other Northamptonshire based organisations in order to form mutually beneficial relationships to aid sustainable business and raise the profile of the county.

Now retired from the London based business he founded 26 years ago, Oliver has utilised his new-found freedom to begin a new engineering venture which is allowing him to develop and hone his practical, business and design skills.

Through his involvement at Wicksteed Park Oliver recognises that today’s families sometimes need help to appreciate how play and sporting activity underpin mental and physical wellbeing in these pressured times. He recognises above all that variety and diverse interests are key to a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle.

Oliver is a dynamic, determined and compassionate individual who is keen to contribute to the wider community and regularly speaks at events around the county.

In 2019 Oliver was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of the county of Northamptonshire. This award was given in recognition of all the work he has done for the good of the county over the years.

Oliver also sits on the boards of Delapré Abbey in Northampton and “Northamptonshire – Britain’s Best Surprise” a campaign that promotes the county’s fabulous attractions and produce together with tourism generally across the county.

Linden Groves

Linden Groves has worked for over a decade as a mainstream landscape historian, starting out as Assistant Editor on the magazine Historic Gardens Review, which celebrates historic gardens across the world. In 2010 she co-authored the book, The Gardens of English Heritage, which won the Inspirational Garden Book of the Year Award! She is heavily involved with The Garden History Society and the Association of Gardens Trusts, working on the Historic Landscape Project to empower County Gardens Trusts volunteers to play an active conservation role.

Having produced a conservation advice note on the tricky issue of incorporating playgrounds into historic landscapes, Linden was inspired to start The Garden History Society’s influential Beyond the Playground campaign to demonstrate that keeping children entertained in historic gardens can be as much about rolling down banks as it is about fancy new play equipment.

She quickly became hooked on the subject of children in historic landscapes and has now carried out much research into how children have played outdoors in the past, working for organisations such as English Heritage, the National Trust, and the Royal Parks Agency.

During this process she fell in love with Wicksteed Park!

Now Linden spends much of her working life on children’s play, particularly in the historic environment. Whether it be leading traditional games play sessions and workshops as Hahahopscotch, advising gardens, or researching play in the past, she loves her job and brings a passion and enthusiasm for the landscape and children’s play that she hopes will be put to good use at Wicksteed Park.

(You can read more about Linden’s work at www.hahahopscotch.co.uk or www.outdoorchildren.co.uk

Paul Clarke

Except for a period of around 13 years spent in Cheshire and a short period in early life in Sussex, Paul has been based in Kettering since 1965. Being a resident of Kettering for over 40 years he has known Wicksteed Park since very early childhood. Knowing the Park and the founders wholehearted wish that the space he donated should be beneficial for all time to the people of Kettering and its surrounds, he has a passion that Charles Wicksteed’s vision be continued, reinforced and enhanced for the future.

He currently serves on the Local Governing Body of a Kettering all through Academy (4 – 18) and is a Founder Board member and Trustee of a new Free School in Northamptonshire. He is also a Trustee of the local Citizens advice service in Kettering and Corby.

Because of his interests in education over many years, he has a strong wish that the Park continues to achieve its stated aims to be a place of education and recreation for the children (and adults) of the town and its surrounds and recognises that the Park will reinvent itself as time passes to continue its path whilst not losing sight of its original purpose.

Apart from his voluntary activities Paul has spent 35 years working for the Uk based division of a Global company which manufactures, sells and provides innovative solutions to the Motor trade based in Kettering since 1965 . His career has culminated in him being the Human Resources Director of the business for over 10 years and a main UK Board Director for the last two years. Apart from his interests in Human Capital and planning his expertise also lies in the field of Insurance and general Company administration.

Paul is honoured and proud to be allowed to serve as a new member of the Trust and will do all he can within his area of expertise to ensure that the Visions and Values of the original founders wishes are maintained for the benefit of Kettering ,its people, its surrounds and further afield.

Christopher Pykett

After qualifying as a solicitor in Torquay and London, Christopher moved to the Kettering area in August 1971 joining a county wide firm of solicitors in which he then became a partner two years later. He retired from the same firm at the end of 2005. In the intervening years he spent approximately fifty per cent of this time in the firm’s Kettering office and the other fifty per cent in their Corby office. Almost all of his working life was spent dealing with either commercial property work or corporate activities of one sort or another, including numerous mergers, sales and acquisitions of all types of businesses.

In particular he spent a great deal of time involved in the activities of charitable organisations with constitutions similar to that found at Wicksteed Park. Having brought up two children in the area he has been fully aware of the facilities available at the Park, and hopes that by joining the Trust he will be able to assist in their continuing provision

John Pegg

John Pegg is a Landscape Architect of 20 years standing and principal at craft:pegg landscape architects.

Born and raised in Barton Seagrave John attended Latimer School and Tresham College before gaining a degree in Geography from Nottingham University and a Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University. Subsequently John has forged an international career across a broad spectrum of professional projects across the world.

Johns design work has a strong, contemporary style evidenced by his portfolio of public realm and site specific art commissions but can regularly be found advising on the development of historically sensitive sites. In addition to professional practice John has a strong track record in design education teaching and critiquing landscape architecture, urban design and architecture at a number of Universities in the UK and US.

Outside of the profession John is principally a Dad but is intending to have a mid-life crisis that involves a return to mountains, kayaking and fencing.

Robert Hunt

Apart from a short spell in the late ‘90s due to other business commitments, Robert has been a member of the Trust since 1986, having been introduced to the Park and its then Chairman, Robert Wicksteed in the mid-1980s.

For Robert, the Trust represents the continuation of a set of values that he feels should be nurtured and promoted within today’s society. Whilst Wicksteed Park is the most outward and visible manifestation of these, he shares with the other Trustees the wish to maintain the founder’s dream and the modern interpretation of the original Trust’s objectives.

Away from the Trust, Robert has a portfolio of business interests. He spent his early career as a Research Scientist before gaining a commission at Sandhurst and serving as an Infantry Platoon Commander in Berlin and on a two year operational tour in Northern Ireland. He subsequently developed a career in international sales and marketing, culminating in his appointment as Country Manager with a multi-billion Euro industrial conglomerate.

In his spare time, such as it is, Robert has restored and competes in an historic Alvis racing car.

Nick Vaughan

Nick has over 33 years’ experience in the real estate and finance sectors and is currently a main board director at one of the UK’s largest private real estate companies. As Commercial Director, Nick’s role covers portfolio management, acquisitions and disposals, the Company’s rental and development subsidiaries and areas such as legal services, utilities, technical services and health and safety.

Nick has board responsibility for the Company’s private estates which include significant amounts of amenity space used by the local communities and he is passionate about ensuring these are quality environments for all to enjoy.

Nick is delighted and proud to have been asked to join the Trust and hopes that his experience will help the Park to flourish and deliver and protect the vision of Charles Wicksteed to provide a place of leisure and recreation for the people of Kettering and beyond.

Paul Stamper

I was born in Broughton, near Kettering, and have known ‘Wikkies’ since childhood. After many years living elsewhere, I returned to Northamptonshire ten years ago.

An interest in archaeology and landscape history which had been fostered at Kettering Grammar School led to a first degree in archaeology and history and a PhD at Southampton University. From teenage years holidays were spent excavating, and this continued through the first half of my career when I was writing academic histories. In 1996 I joined English Heritage (now Historic England) where I had a variety of roles, as an Inspector of Historic Parks and Gardens, an Inspector of Ancient Monuments and latterly a Senior Adviser working on listing standards and policy.

Alongside the day job I have always taught part time at various universities, notably Bristol and Leicester, where I am a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for English Local History. I have published extensively on subjects including medieval settlement, historic parks and gardens, and most recently the physical impact of the First World War on England

In 2016 I left Historic England and established my own consultancy, Paul Stamper Heritage , advising on historic buildings and landscapes – not least historic parks.

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