TWENTY intrepid clerics, including the Bishop of Manchester, the
Rt Revd David Walker, descended on the theme park Blackpool
Pleasure Beach on Wednesday to ride the biggest rollercoaster in
the UK, "the Big One", to raise money for the Children's Society.
They did it in the company of an ex-Bond girl, Shannon Ledbetter,
and Linda Nolan, of the Nolan Sisters.
The mile-long Big One is said to be the "fastest and scariest"
of UK rollercoaster rides. It climbs to a height of 235 feet before
plunging to the first drop, at an incline of 65 degrees and speeds
of up to 87mph. The Assistant Curate at St Peter's, Addingham, the
Revd David Austin, was one of the "Revs on a rollercoaster" who
could not resist the challenge, despite being known for keeping his
feet on the ground.
"For many, a day on a theme park is a distant dream," he said.
"By supporting the work of the Children's Society, we don't just
help them survive, we help them flourish."
Each rider has pledged to raise £500. Mo Baldwin, of the
Society, told the volunteers: "The more scared you are, the better.
Parishioners and sponsors like to know you won't be enjoying
Minutes after the ride, the Vicar of Beverley Minster, Canon
Jeremy Fletcher, said that he had had a "fabulous" time. He had
gone round twice, sitting in the front seat for the second ride -
and, yes, it was instinctive to scream at the descent, and to duck
under the bridges of a ride that was "really quite scary".
The riders arrived fully robed for the photographs, but the
robes, as loose items, had to be left on the ground. "The Mayor of
Blackpool told me that people occasionally lose their false teeth,"
he said. "I'm able to report teeth intact, and hair intact."
Would he get a sermon out of all this? "More than one," he said.
"I tweeted that it had more ups and downs than a PCC meeting."
Canon Fletcher has raised £700, and the total raised so far is
in excess of £8000, plus some "seriously good publicity for the