EastEnders star opens play area in St Albans

Jake Wood at Butterfly World

FEISTY EastEnders character Max Branning floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee when it comes to affairs of the heart on the BBC soap.

But when it comes to butterflies in real life, actor Jake Wood, who lives in the Hertfordshire countryside, is keen to support efforts in St Albans to boost their numbers.

Jake was at Butterfly World, off Noke Lane, Chiswell Green, yesterday, to officially open the project’s play area.

The actor, a father-of-two, said he initially visited Butterfly World about a year ago with his children and enjoyed seeing the project. He has since become the attraction’s latest celebrity patron.

Jake said: “I’m very impressed with the work they are doing here in terms of conservation and education and I was honoured to be asked to get involved.”

He praised Butterfly World’s conservation efforts as, “fantastic”.

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Although he’s a smooth-talker with a roving eye in EastEnders, Jake said he enjoyed hearing that people were surprised at how very different he was to his on-screen character in real life.

While at Butterfly World, Jake bumped into Jean and Bernard Dean, the great-grandparents of Charlee and Neo Hall, the twin actors who share the role of Max Branning’s son Oscar.

Jake, who has appeared in EastEnders since 2006, said to the couple: “They are lovely, lovely children. They are very well behaved.”

He said it was a “great honour” to be at Butterfly World to officially open the play area.

Angela Harkness, managing director of the project, said the new area was built with �150,000 of landfill tax from Lafarge Aggregates, in partnership with Groundwork Hertfordshire.

She said: “It’s a fantastic addition to Butterfly World.”