A GIANT badger will be opening a play area based on a disaster which destroyed a lighthouse.

Essex Wildlife Trust’s masot melina will be doing the honours at its Thameside Nature Park visitors’ centre in Stanford-le-Hope on Saturday.

The Trust recently commissioned manufacturer Flights of Fantasy to construct a play area based on the destruction of Mucking Lighthouse in 1954 after it was hit by a barge.

The lighthouse was mentioned in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, published in 1861, with the author drawing on his own experiences of growing up opposite Mucking near Cliffe marsh in Kent.

The play area will be officially opened at 10am, allowing children to climb the ‘lighthouse,’ operate ‘diggers’ which reflect the site’s history of gravel extraction and landfill and slide down the ‘jetty,’ as well as zooming down a zip wire.

A craft fair will also be open for the duration of the event.

For more information on the centre, visit www.essexwt.org.uk/reserves/thurrock-thameside