Goalden Girls go where seagulls dare for carers
The Big One may no longer be the world's tallest rollercoaster but it's still a heck of a long way up '“ particularly when you are walking it.
There are 420 steps to the 235ft summit.
Ask Tricia Ellis, 59, and Avril Garrow, 56, founder members of Blackpool’s intrepid Goalden Girls, a squad of women who started running marathons and epic walks for charity in their 50s and 60s.
The pair scaled the dizzy heights to a view millions have seen but few have time to appreciate – as riders plunge down a sheer drop at speeds of up to 87mph. The ride normally takes three minutes. Organisers allow around 90 minutes for the round trip on foot.
Avril and Tricia knocked it off in less than an hour as they raised funds for the Blackpool Carers Centre charity.
Kitted out with hard hats, strapped into harnesses, and holding onto ‘runners’, via leads on the rails to help stay in line and retain balance, the pair took regular stops to take in the view and wave to the rest of the Goalden Girls on the Prom below.
The formidable fund-raisers have supported Blackpool Carers Centre’s annual Cash Quest for Carers, which supports specialist employment for the resort’s young carers’ champions, since the first event in 2014 – when the Goalden Girls danced Gangnam Style at FunnyGirls.
Last year they presented a ’70s style flash mob dance at the Grosvenor G Casino.
This year, Tricia and Avril invested the charity’s £50 starter stake in footing the Pleasure Beach bill for The Big One ‘walk’ – in order to win sponsorship cash.
Founder Tricia said: “Taking on The Big One was the big one for us because it was more of a personal challenge. I feel a bit of a fraud because I enjoyed it so much. It was fantastic.”
Avril, who had been weak at the knees from a virus giving her vertigo symptoms, said: “Nothing was going to stop me doing this. I was very apprehensive but I enjoyed it – I think! It was the last event for this year’s cash quest too so it really was The Big One.”
The pair reckon they have raised well over £500 to date. Twenty teams have taken part in the quest and the total will be tallied up on October 14 at a breakfast event at the charity’s new base Beaverbrooks House on Newton Drive.
The building was transformed into a carers’ centre by hundreds of volunteers , led by designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Nick Knowles of the BBC’s DIY SOS team. The new-look is under wraps until Children in Need’s Big Build special on November 16.