Charity founder's plea to not let Kettering park be 'another casualty' of this pandemic

Crazy Hats has held its annual walk at Wicksteed since 2003 and says 'no other venue would do for us'

By Stephanie Weaver
Friday, 19th June 2020, 6:00 am
Glennis Hooper at Wicksteed Park for the Crazy Hats walk back in 2010
Glennis Hooper at Wicksteed Park for the Crazy Hats walk back in 2010

A charity founder has urged people to rally round and not let Wicksteed Park become 'another casualty' of this pandemic.

Glennis Hooper is founder of the Crazy Hats breast cancer appeal which has raised more than £3 million to improve breast cancer care at both Kettering and Northampton general hospitals.

Wicksteed Park has been a long-standing supporter of the charity and provided the perfect venue for its annual walk for 18 years.

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But following this week's news about Wicksteed Park, Glennis from Wellingborough said: "I was gobsmacked and emotional when I saw the announcement on Facebook.

"It's unbelievable, but with how the world is at this time nothing should surprise us.

"However, for this to happen to such a wonderful attraction - 'The Jewel of Northamptonshire' - is devastating and we truly hope the problems can be rectified and people rally round to support the campaign of saving it."

For the past 18 years, Wicksteed Park has been dubbed the 'home' of Crazy Hats with the charity holding its annual walk there since 2003 as well as other events and celebrations.

The Crazy Hats walk at Wicksteed Park in 2011

The park is incredibly special to the charity and they hope this will not be the end of a very happy and successful partnership.

Glennis, who was devastated when they had to postpone this year's walk due to Covid-19, said: "No other venue would do for us and we are really hoping walk number 18 will be able to be held there in 2021 when we are allowed to organise such a large gathering - and the park is open and willing to accommodate us.

"Over the past years we have made so many friends on the management team and everyone there has always been so very helpful and supportive of the work we do - for this we are eternally grateful.

"We have endured every type of weather imaginable but, year on year, the walkers return and each walk is as memorable as the one before.

Glennis and her sister at Wicksteed Park

"Thousands of photographs have been taken, thousands of crazy hats worn and hundreds of thousands of pounds raised to support breast cancer care in Northamptonshire."

But aside from the charity's connections, the Kettering park also has a special place in Glennis' heart.

She said: "For me personally, I lived at Barton Seagrave as a child.

"Wicksteed Park was our back garden and as a family we spent so much time there and gathered so many wonderful happy memories.

"In 1944 my parents met at a dance there and in later years, when dad had retired and was suffering with Alzheimer's he, come rain or shine, walked around the park every single day.

"On days when we are not doing something related to Crazy Hats I often go with my friend and her grandchildren to enjoy all that the park has to offer - a lot!

"Wicksteed Park is so special.

"I feel confident that the park will survive.

"It has to, especially knowing it will be marking its centenary next year.

"As we got behind Sir Captain Tom who raised millions for the NHS when he turned 100, surely this is such a worthy and deserving campaign to get behind - our future generations need it.

"Please don't let it be another casualty of this horrible Covid-19 pandemic.

"I urge everyone to do 'something' to preserve this jewel.

"For now, our love and thoughts are with all the Wicksteed Park team."

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