Daredevil Dave’s final charity ride

Fundraiser Dave Burns will be riding the Skycoaster to raise money for charity
Fundraiser Dave Burns will be riding the Skycoaster to raise money for charity
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A veteran disabled fund-raiser is to call time on half-a-century of charity work tomorrow with a hair-raising ride on Blackpool’s South Pier Skycoaster adrenaline ride.

Wheelchair-bound Dave Burns will be hoisted 120ft in the air before plummeting down to earth on a cable.

The stunt marks the end of decade’s of fund-raising work from Dave, of Paddock Drive, Marton, who has raised more than £750,000 for good causes.

And forces charity Help for Heroes will be the beneficiaries of his last endeavour.

Fifty years of fund-raising have been brought to a halt by a battle with prostate cancer and pressure from Dave’s son and two daughters who want their dad to put his feet up at last.

Londoner Dave, who came to Blackpool to work on the railways 40 years ago, said: “I have enjoyed every moment of my fund-raising. I love 
Blackpool and have been embraced by its people and have always wanted to do what I could for the community.”

He displayed an early loyalty to the town, electing to support the Tangerines instead of his local team Queens Park Rangers.

“I told my dad I just liked the colour of the shirts better,” he said.

Dave, who was confined to a wheelchair 15 years ago following complications from an accident in a steelworks years before, has literally carried a torch for the town.

Two years ago he was selected as an Olympic torch bearer to carry the iconic beacon on its route through Cleveleys.

“That was the highlight for me,” said Acton-born Dave. “I couldn’t believe an old Cockney like me would have been picked to represent Blackpool in the Olympic torch relay. It was one of the best moments of my life.”

The 72-year-old’s daredevil ride will start at 1pm, following a flypast from the Red Arrows aerial display team.

“Once they have given me the go-ahead, it’s all systems go,” said Dave. “I’m looking forward to it and it will be fantastic to go out with a bang. I will miss all my charity work, but the time has come to take it easy.”

Dave also received a letter from Prince William wishing him well on Sunday. The Duke of Cambridge said he hoped Dave had a “fantastic day” on Sunday.

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden paid tribute to Dave’s work.

He said: “Over the many years I have known Dave, he has done so much good for the local community, here in Blackpool and across the Fylde Coast. He has constantly championed many good causes from local disability charities to Help for Heroes.

“Dave is an inspirational and very brave individual and there are not many people who would be able to match what he is doing this weekend.

“I wish him all the best at the show, which I’m sure will be a great success and crowd puller, and I hope he raises a lot of money in the process for Help for Heroes.”