02:15PM, Wednesday 30 August 2017
“It's nice to see all our hard work wasn’t wasted,” joked 10-year-old Nathan Hedges as he watched Timbertown go up in smoke for another year.
The 34th annual event returned over the Bank Holiday weekend with more than 300 children and volunteers making various beach-themed creations using locally-supplied timber. They included a lighthouse, helter skelter and a Punch and Judy show.
Nathan was joined by Felicity Miller, nine, Jimmy Clarke, 10, and Shannon O’Farrell, 10, as they watched their ice cream hut catch fire on Tuesday.
Felicity added: “I’m happy because there is another one next year so not all our hard work is lost.”
The fire marks the end of four days’ work where groups of adults and children work together to make each hut – 20 in total – before their creations are burned.
On Saturday the teams begin construction followed by painting on Sunday.
Rhys Vann from Maidenhead had been working on the Shell House.
The 10-year-old said: “I like the sawing, it’s really fun.”
Monday gave everyone a chance to enjoy the site with a water slide, water fights and other games.
Sophie McCaster, nine, was behind the counter in the Beach Cafe.
“My favourite part is the painting because people throw the paint at you and you just all end up covered in paint,” she said.
Outside the Fish and Chip and Rock shops, Rob and Claire Castignetti described how they had built a tunnel to connect their two huts and added a slide with about 25 children and the other volunteers.
Claire added: “It’s the second time we’ve volunteered, we get quite ambitious but it’s amazing what can be achieved with hard work and imagination.”
Mid-afternoon yesterday (Tuesday) a yellow excavator entered the site and began pushing all the huts into the centre of the field.
Laila Knowles, 10, watched as her hut was pushed into the growing pile of wood. She said: ““It’s sad but also quite cool.”
The event was originally started by Erika Hayward in 1984. Erika’s son and current secretary Harrie said: “
“We’ve been involved since we were children. I’ve never missed one.”
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