Merlin’s Magic Wand Charity and LEGOLAND® Windsor are playing host to 700 seriously and terminally ill children and their families on Friday 6th June, treating them to a fabulous day out at the park. Merlin Entertainments Group’s new charity is working in cooperation with the Rays of Sunshine charity and LEGOLAND to welcome children from a variety of London area hospitals, including Great Ormond Street Hospital, University College Hospital, Wexham Park and Central Middlesex. During their visit, the children will have the opportunity to experience the huge number of rides and attractions at LEGOLAND, including the £7million Land of the Vikings, featuring the Longboat Invader ride, Vikings’ River Splash and Loki’s Labyrinth, and three new shows.
Merlin’s Magic Wand Charity was set up earlier this year by the Merlin Entertainments Group (“Merlin”) to provide magical experiences for children who are seriously ill, disabled or disadvantaged and who might not otherwise be able to attend one of its attractions. Merlin made an initial commitment of £100, 000 to the Charity and also donated 5, 000 free tickets to its attractions for such children, with free admission for parents or helpers accompanying them, together worth up to £300, 000.
“We are a family attraction based business with great brands including LEGOLAND, Madame Tussauds, The London Eye, Alton Towers, SEALIFE Centres, The Dungeons, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures, Warwick Castle, Heide Park in Germany and Gardaland in Italy. We operate in 12 countries across three continents and last year we welcomed 32 million guests to our 58 attractions, ” said Merlin CEO, Nick Varney. “Unfortunately, some children, through disadvantages which are not of their own making, are not in a position to be able to come and experience our attractions, or indeed many of the things that most children take for granted. We hope that by making available magical and memorable experiences, Merlin’s Magic Wand charity will be able to bring some pleasure and improvement to the lives of some of those children”.
Commenting, Tim Shaw CEO of Rays of Sunshine said: ‘This is a wonderful gesture by Merlin and LEGOLAND. For some of these children this is a dream come true – and one of the few really fun things they will have the opportunity to do together with their friends and family. It is a real ‘ray of sunshine’ in their lives – and there is certainly a great deal of excitement at all the hospitals!’
Friday’s visit to LEGOLAND is one of the first trips which has been supported by Merlin’s Magic Wand and the Trustees of the charity are currently considering a wide range of applications for other trips to Merlin Group attractions from as far afield as California and Hong Kong. Applications can be made via the Charity’s web site at www.merlinsmagicwand.org
The Merlin Entertainments Group is the leading name in location based, family entertainment worldwide and has seen the most successful and dynamic growth of any company in the sector over the last five years. The world’s No 2 visitor attraction operator with 58 attractions and six hotels, Merlin aims to deliver memorable and rewarding experiences to its 32 million visitors worldwide, through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its managers and 13000 employees. In the UK, Merlin operates – The London Eye, Madame Tussauds, Alton Towers, LEGOLAND, the London, Edinburgh and York Dungeons, Thorpe Park, SEA LIFE, Chessington World of Adventures and Warwick Castle.
LEGOLAND Windsor is a unique family theme park where children aged 3-12 can take to the road, soar through the skies and sail the seas in complete safety. It has over 50 interactive rides, attractions, live shows, building workshops and driving schools, not to mention nearly 55 million LEGO bricks, all set in 150 acres of beautiful parkland.
Rays of Sunshine was set up to make wishes come true for terminally and seriously ill children between the ages of 3-18 in the United Kingdom; to buy vitally needed equipment for those children and to support the hospitals, hospices and specialist schools that care for them, by purchasing equipment and funding capital projects.
For more information on Merlin’s Magic Wand or on the Merlin Group contact:
Sally Ann Wilkinson/Penny Roberts
Tel: 020 8899 6110/ 07774 415 372
Carly Shutes / Alison Bledge – LEGOLAND Windsor Press Office
Tel: 01753 626106 / 01753 626125
For Rays of Sunshine:
Zoë Miranda – 020 8782 1171