Grin and bear it for Wicksteed’s world record attempt

Wicky Bear and Kerry Bear with seven-year-old Megan Phillips
Wicky Bear and Kerry Bear with seven-year-old Megan Phillips

A popular Kettering visitor attraction is hoping to break a world record to coincide with a national day promoting children’s play.

Wicksteed Park – and its popular mascot Wicky Bear – is hoping to set a new unofficial record for the longest Teddy Bear chain, part of a number of play-related celebrations at the park on Wednesday, August 7.

Playday, co-ordinated by Play England and celebrated with events across the country, highlights the right of children to play and the importance of play in their lives.

And park officials say that concept was something which the park’s founder, Charles Wicksteed, held dear and which he wanted his park to encourage in Kettering.

More than 1,700 people, and a similar number of bears, took part in the longest chain, on Guernsey in 2008.

Wicky Bear and other park mascots will lead the record attempt at Wicksteed Park at 2pm on the day, with visitors urged to assemble at the top side of the Hexagon to take part.

Managing director of Wicksteed Park Alasdair McNee said: “Playday is a wonderful way to highlight the benefits of traditional children’s play and encourage people to enjoy traditional games and pastimes.

“But it is also about having fun – and what better way to bring everyone together than to try and set an unofficial world record?

“Everyone loves Wicky Bear. It would be great to see as many people as possible coming along to help him out.

“We might not break the record but I’m sure everyone will have a great day out.”

To encourage as many people as possible to join in, any car containing a teddy bear on the day will get a £2 reduction on parking.

Teddies will also be available for half price, £2, from the park shop between midday and 2pm for those who cannot bring a bear of their own.

The Playday events start at 10.30am and, as well as the Teddy Bear chain, include activities like Jenga, a waterslide, falconry and skipping.