01:55AM, Wednesday 27 August 2014
A wooden town that gets burned to the ground every year rose again at the weekend with the return of Timbertown.
The popular event, the brainchild of former Desborough School teacher Erika Hayward, started in 1984.
Every year excited children converge on Town Moor in Blackamoor Lane, Maidenhead, to build a wooden town using timber donated by nearby businesses and supporters.
They then get the chance to play in their hand-built structures before they are flattened and turned into a massive bonfire.
Building started on Saturday and the event finished with the fire yesterday.
Erica's son Harrie knows how addictive it is. He was 12 when she started it 30 years ago. Now he is 42 and one of the main adult supervisors.
Harrie said: "It is even more relevant today. It gets children away from their computers. They are learning to use real tools, to develop practical skills, social skills.
"They meet children from different communities. The older ones learn to look after younger ones."
Kate Holyoake-Lloyd, from Cookham, first went to Timbertown when she was six. This year she was there as a 31-year-old mother with husband Owen and children Rebecca, three, and Jake, one.
She said: "I even interrupted conservation work in Africa during my gap year to come back and do this and I have brought my family in on it."
This year 320 children aged six to 11 took part.
The theme was super heroes and by the end of the first day on Saturday, 20 huts has been constructed - suitable for housing the Batmobile, Robin Hood, Aquaman and Wonder Woman.
Abby Jones, 10 said: "It is great to learn to build stuff, to learn how to use a hammer and saw."
Jake Butler, seven, said: "You could not do this at home."
Sunday was the day for decorating and painting the huts while on Monday it was time for games and fun - the hard work over.
Sadly bad weather brought a premature end to the fun.
Harrie said: "Many parents arrived to collect their children early, but found them reluctant to leave."
It was wrapped up the next day with the traditional bonfire.
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