Kettering woman raises more than £2,000 for Wicksteed Park in a day

People have been donating to support Kettering's park

By Phoebe Radford
Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 5:45 pm

More than £2,000 has been donated to Wicksteed Park in less than 24 hours, fundraising platform Just Giving has confirmed.

Wicksteed Charitable Trust, which owns the park land, appealed for support when it announced yesterday (Monday) that the company that runs the park, Wicksteed Park Limited, has gone into administration.

The park shared a Just Giving page in its statement and appealed for donations, but the majority of donations have come from a page set up by Kettering resident Lucy Elliott.

Wicksteed Park is appealing for donations

A spokesman for Just Giving said: "I can confirm that a total of £2,315 has been raised for the trust. This includes the fundraising pages."

Lucy Elliott's Just Giving page, titled 'Save Wicksteed Park from closure' has raised £2,025 and is linked to Wicksteed's profile so the money goes directly to the trust.

Lucy said: "That's amazing.

"I have lived in Kettering pretty much all my life and I have worked at the park, I had my wedding reception at the park. Wicksteed Park is at the heart of Kettering.

Annabelle Elliott, 10, drew this poster to be pinned in windows on the idea of Gayle Fletcher

"We are so lucky to have such an amazing thing on our doorstep. There's not many towns that can boast of something like Wicksteed."

Echoing the thoughts of many people who have contacted the Northants Telelgraph about Wicksteed Park Ltd's administration, Lucy said: "For my children and my grandchildren, I want to preserve it. To see it go or to see it not in the state it's in now, it would be devastating."

Lucy's daughter, Annabelle, 10, a has got involved and drew a 'Save Wicksteed Park' poster for children to colour in and stick in their windows after Gayle Fletcher came up with the idea.

Lucy said Wicksteed means a lot to Gayle's family and together members of her family had worked at the park for 27 years in total.

Annabelle's school, Millbrook Junior, has shared the poster and Lucy said: "She can't wait to go on a walk later and see the posters in windows."

Lucy was also motivated to set up the page because she has friends who have lost their jobs at the park. Wicksteed Park confirmed yesterday that 115 jobs have been lost.

The donation page has taken off and 87 people have contributed to the £2,025 raised so far.

Lucy said: "It's about community spirit.

"If everybody gave £1 we would be halfway there. It just means so much for everyone, I wouldn't imagine there's anyone in Kettering that's never been to Wicksteed."

Lucy has been talking with Damian Cox Hopefully from Big Bopper Entertainment and said they have been approached with lots of ideas of how to fundraise and are in talks with Wicksteed Park to work out what can be held there.

Wicksteed Park said yesterday that it is in need of the public's support.

Oliver Wicksteed, chairman of Wicksteed Charitable Trust, said: "We have been overwhelmed by messages of support received from people across the country during the current crisis and would like to thank people for their continued backing and loyalty.

"But ultimately, Wicksteed Park is a private park which costs a great deal of money to maintain if we are to continue to open for people to use free of charge, as we have for the last 99 years."

Speaking to BBC Northampton today, Oliver Wicksteed said the cost of running just the green spaces are in excess of £110,000 a month.

Wicksteed Park is free to visit. Visitors pay for parking and rides, but the open spaces and play parks are free to enter and use.

Lucy is aiming for a massive £1m in her fundraiser. She said: "I really want to get £1m for it.

"Hopefully we can raise as much money as possible to support our local treasure."

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