A couple who were unofficially crowned Wicksteed Park’s biggest fans, after getting engaged next to its famous train, have vowed to be at the front of the queue when the park reopens after the coronavirus outbreak.
Jason Hill proposed to girlfriend Candice Fleming on the platform of the train, which travels around the park, two years ago and the couple take the short walk from their home in Barton Seagrave to visit the park almost every day.
The park has offered the couple a VIP ride on the train when it reopens at the end of the coronavirus outbreak – and invited other local people to challenge them for the title of Wicksteed Park’s number one fans.
Jason, from Rushden, and Candice, from Boston, Lincolnshire, met four years ago and first went to the park together on their fourth date.
Jason, 36, said: “I had been to the park a lot through my childhood and growing up. Candice questioned my choice as she was not from around Kettering and had never heard of Wicksteed Park and didn’t know anything about it.
“However, once we arrived and she saw it she was amazed by everything, from the rides to the lake, from the wildlife to the grounds, and then she saw the train, which she thought was truly amazing.
“We have since returned to the park on, I would say, a monthly basis and we still enjoy a wonder around the grounds and a ride on the train.”
When Jason decided the propose to Candice, 33, he could think of no better place to do it.
He said: “Ever since our first visit as a couple we have always gone on the train. Candice regularly takes pictures and videos on our train ride and we both enjoy going around the park on the train and seeing different things every time.
“For me it was the perfect place. I spoke to people at the park, who helped me arrange it and, with it being in December, it was lit up for the Magical Wicksteed Santa ride, which made it all the more perfect.”
Candice, who works for West Lodge Rural Centre in Desborough, added: “I was shocked and surprised by the whole thing. Jason told me we were going on the Magical Wicksteed Santa ride, which I was really looking forward to as I’m a big kid at heart.
“It wasn’t until we got to the platform that I noticed that we were the only people on it. Jason then promptly got down on one knee and proposed.”
Jason, who works as a Master Technician for Headlands Garage in Kettering, added: “I have to say there was a look of shock for a split second before the overwhelming joy and she said ‘yes’. I put the ring on her finger and then she ran into my arms nearly knocking me over as I was still on one knee, with the biggest smile I have ever seen on her face.
“As I stood up the Station Master and the train crew were stood there with a bottle of fizz and we had a glass on our exclusive ride around the park.”
The couple, who are getting married at Dodford Manor in May 2021, recently underlined their links to the park by planting a tree as part of a Kettering Eco Group project.
Jason said: “It now feels like there will always be part of us at Wicksteed Park and I think it’s fair to say that Wicksteed Park is a special place in our relationship, and long may it continue.”
Wicksteed Park’s head of Sales and Marketing Rachel James said: “Jason and Candice’s story is so lovely and romantic and is a great example of how the park can create wonderful memories.
“At this challenging time we want to try and focus on happy, positive things which make people smile, so would like people who think they deserve the title of Wicksteed Park’s Biggest Fan to get in touch with their stories.”
Anyone who would like to share their stories of Wicksteed Park can email email@example.com marking their email Wicksteed Park’s Biggest Fan.
Notes to editors:
Wicksteed 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 Wicksteed Charitable Trust was formed to ensure his work continued after his death.
For further information on Wicksteed Park and how to make a charitable donation, go to www.wicksteedpark.org and www.justgiving.com/wicksteedcharitabletrust
Issued on behalf of Wicksteed Park
For further information, please contact:
Andrew Turner – Andrew Turner Public Relations 07961-556391 firstname.lastname@example.org