The new Little Willows children’s area was officially open at the River & Rowing Museum on Saturday morning by Mr Toad and competition winner Molly Price.
A small number of VIP and VISP (small people) guests including Henley Mayor, Councillor Michelle Thomas got the chance to see the new interactive play area which includes a sailing boat, a ship’s wheel complete with binoculars and telescope, Kenton puppet theatre, flower shaped chalk boards, story corner with large chair for Mr Toad and an ice cream cart. There are lots of lovely details; we particularly loved the little log and flower cushions.
Molly entered the competition after being given Wind in the Willows Mole soft toy at Mill Meadows playground in February half term. The competition was to take your Wind in the Willows character on an adventure somewhere. Molly took her Mole to Maidenhead Rugby Club to watch a game. Molly aged 8 goes to Cookham Rise Primary School. Her Mum, Katherine said, “She was delighted to win and was excited this morning but felt slightly overwhelmed.”
After a sing-a-long and a story by Mr Toad and Maddie the children could explore the area.
Claire Winlow from Kidlington who was also one of the invited guests said, “I really like Museum and I’m a regular visitor and it’s really lovely to have something for the younger children as I have 3 boys aged 6, 10 and 12 years. Finding somewhere that caters across the breadth of ages is quite difficult so now that they have got the Wind in the Willows gallery downstairs which is lovely and immersive and this (Little Willows) which is really hands on with lots of interactive play items, not just colouring. It’s really hands-on learning through play.”
Steve O’Connor, Director of the River & Rowing Museum said, “It’s brilliant to see the children. It’s great to see the Museum open this morning to hear and see the children bring life back here. It’s a testament to the team that have done an amazing work to put it all together to get it to where we are now. My favourite part is the paintings that Mary has done are amazing as it is all hand painted.”
Afterwards the children were treated to a lunch in the Thames Room and got a goodie bag to take home along with a Mr Toad Fairy cake.