19th July 2008

Wicksteed Park (Kettering, England)


Margaret Drinkwater
May I express my thanks to Mark and anyone else involved in the planning of the lovely day at Wicksteed. With only a few showers, the weather was fine.

Some of us are familiar with the park from childhood or more recent visits and it was good to see so many members who were visiting for the first time.

Thanks must also go to the lady park staff member who gave us a most interesting talk with DVD presentation about the founding of the park and its history. The group visit to the 1926 Water Chute and the private places around and below it were much appreciated, as was the area which was once pets corner, now a wonderfully eclectic “dumping ground”.

The group takeover of the train was followed by the picnic on the grass – OK it was in a marquee! – which was great. From here the members dispersed to enjoy the park in their own groups.

It was good to meet with old pals and to enjoy the unique relaxed park experience.  Thanks again.

Martin Porter
It made a change to visit somewhere without the normal “high charge” thrill factor (especially as I had to wake up at around 06:40 to get ready!)

The highlight of my day was probably taking a plunge on those rather unusual “jump water jet” things. At first I assumed the boats just dropped by their own accord; then on closer inspection I noticed the cord that was attached to them to pull/release them from the top of the chute/track. Quite a fun experience I thought as one lands at the bottom in the water in a fairly unstable condition. The 1926 Water Chute was also a sight to behold.

Many thanks to Mark & co again for organising another excellent trip yesterday.

Mark Riley
I hope everyone who attended our trip to Wicksteed Park had a great day.  Although the rain tried to spoil the fun, I think we were pretty lucky.  And this trip once again proved that the smaller parks really appreciate our interest and enthusiasm.

After watching a vintage film of the park, we were given a talk on the park’s history.  A close look at the 1926 waterchute followed, which really is one of our true classic rides, before taking a walk through the boathouse.  Following a ride on the equally classic railway, we all met for our picnic!  Thankfully the park had a marquee set up which we were able to ‘gatecrash’ for our lunch!

Thanks to Jenny Pentelow at the park who spent the morning with us and arranged for the extras.

Chris Penn
It was indeed a fun day 🙂

Andy Rathe
I’d like to thank those involved in arranging the Wicksteed trip. Despite  missing the history talk due to an unavoidable late arrival it was a nice, relaxing day at a park none of us had previously visited. I couldn’t help thinking that with all that grass, surely some of it could be used as a foundation for a wooden coaster!

Bob Clark
A truly splendid day out.

A chance to relax, talk to old friends,  to stroll round and enjoy one of England’s hidden gems – and to ride a couple of new coasters.

Thanks to Mark and Wicksteed Park’s Jenny Pentelow for organising the trip.

Wicksteed’s central location would make an ideal location for a future AGM.

Cal Jones
Wicksteed was a nice day out.

David Ellis
Susan and I had a great day… nice and relaxing, a perfect chance to socialise and take things easy, yet still gain a couple of coaster credits!

Jenny Pentelow’s short talk about the park and its history was very interesting. I certainly learned a few things, like I didn’t realise that the park was owned by a charity and struggles to break-even most years, often running at a loss, especially when the weather is poor (the park is very much somewhere where you need the weather on your side). She also gave away the truth about how the founder of the park met his demise!

The behind-the-scenes tour was very interesting – doing this sort of thing really makes visits to parks with the club that extra bit special.

I have written a letter of thanks to Jenny, and also enclosed a charitable donation, which more than makes up for the fact that the man on the gates when we arrived in the morning refused to take our money for parking! (Long story cut short…I mentioned on arrival that we were part of the coaster club and asked if there was a particular place arranged for us to all park together…Alan, the man collecting the money, looked at his sheet of park information and said “oh yes, Jenny is giving you a tour and taking you behind the scenes, and as you are special guests I had better not charge you for parking”. He then said “I’m not really sure what the arrangements are for parking, but as Jenny is my boss, I had better give you your money back”. We, not knowing if anything had been arranged with the park at short notice, thanked Alan and drove through to park the car!).

The friendly way that Alan greeted us and chatted summed the place up for me…staff worked there, not for the money (Jenny said that the park paid minimum wage typically), but simply because they sign-up to the mission of founder Charles Wicksteed, to entertain children and families.

I am sure that my donation to the charity will be put to good use, to help preserve the future of the park for generations to come.

Thanks Mark and all that helped make the day special.

Richard Griffiths
Wicksteed is a great little park, the staff are some of the friendliest I have come across and there are some nice little touches around the park that make it a really nice place to Visit.

We all had a really good day (once Owain had worked out how you behave at a theme park 🙂 ) and was really impressed with the new Log Flume and surrounding theming, its surprising what you can do with some wood and signage.

Good to see and speak to folk I havent seen for a fair few years.

Shouts to Adam K, Justin, Mick and Liz, Darren and Linz (and the littl ‘uns), David and Susan and a big thanks all of the Trips team for organising the trip.

Hopefully we will be able to do the same again next year.


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