Just shy of celebrating its 100th birthday, crippling costs force one of Britain’s oldest and most beloved theme parks into administration, all thanks to coronavirus.

Wicksteed Park (Kettering, Northamptonshire), was opened by Charles Wicksteed in 1921, making it one of today’s oldest parks in the world.

The park has struggled to make money in recent years as 400,000 out of 850,000 annual visits generate no income for the park because it is free to access.

However, since the pandemic made its way into the UK, things have seemingly gone from bad to worse, rendering 48 of the park’s staff members and 67 employees jobless.

Oliver Wicksteed, park owner and grandson of Charles Wicksteed, recently claimed that “the costs of the old business were crippling and could not be sustained with the huge loss of revenue already suffered this year.”

“The park has relied on income generated, as well as charitable donations, car parking charges and, on occasion, the sale of land, to help balance the books,” he added.

Sadly, the cherished resort will not survive “without urgent significant support.”

“Even if park rides opened in July, the costs of social distancing measures, and the reduced capacity at which the park would have had to operate, would have meant it was unlikely to be financially viable.”

With little to no governmental support for charities, the real call to arms is directed at those who have warm childhood memories and a truly heartfelt connection to the park. Wicksteed and park devotees have since taken to pounding the pavement by setting up a public fundraising campaign through JustGive, with the hopes of obtaining some quick cash to keep the park in operation.

“We now need people, not least the Government, to recognize all we have done for the many millions of people who need our park and our work supporting the community.”

A tweet by Clergyman and former member of the Communards, Rev Richard Coles, read: “Wicksteed Park has gone into administration. It was the pleasure dome of my childhood and for tens of thousands of Cytringans. A sad, sad day.”

In an effort to provide some measure of stop-gap, Wicksteed Park will now be “streamlined.”

The trust said it will try to keep funding the opening of the park and pavilion and has pledged to honour annual passes, as well as existing and future pavilion bookings, whenever the government guidelines grant permission to hold indoor events.

Be sure to visit https://www.justgiving.com/wicksteedcharitabletrust today.