Lollipop girls say they won’t be licked by fiasco

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A Caddington mother and daughter are picking up the pieces after the Milton Keynes Winter Wonderland fiasco put their business in jeopardy.

Sarah and Amelia Eacope run the Lollipop Girls mobile sweet shop to raise funds for the Papworth Trust charity and had hoped to raise between £2,000 to £3,000.

Mrs Eacope said they are now in “long-term debt” after the business invested about £3,000 in stock and an extra candyfloss machine to keep up with demand after she was told a predicted 20,000 people would visit the wonderland, which closed after one day.

She added: “We put a lot of planning into this to make it festive and extra special. The money is everything I’ve got.”

Amelia, 12, who has cerebral palsy, and her mum are now working round the clock to sell their stock in other ways.

Mrs Eacope said: “While Facebook has been blamed for the wonderland being cancelled, it has been amazing for us. Word is getting out and people are coming forward with orders.”

The pair have started posting out online orders and have been invited to set up their stall at events in their village and St Albans.

Mrs Eacope added: “As soon as we’ve made back our investment, we will carry on fund raising for Papworth. There is no way we will let this beat us.”

The Winter Wonderland Milton Keynes event was cancelled after just one day. It’s website promised ice skating, a Santa’s grotto, and reindeer, along with other quality attractions. What people found was a small plastic ice rink, a skinny Santa in a cheap costume and two reindeer in a pen, set in a muddy park.

Mrs Eacope said: “I saw elves smoking outside the tents, the Santa in what looked like a pound shop suit and reindeers without any horns that the children couldn’t even get near.”