Nerves of steel for my 235ft abseil drop

Here we go: Brave Gazette reporter Alex Ross gives the thumbs up before his descent
Here we go: Brave Gazette reporter Alex Ross gives the thumbs up before his descent
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During a reporter’s time at The Gazette they will often be found doing jobs which can only be classed as “not normal”.

Swimming with sharks at the Sea Life Centre, training with battle-hardened soldiers, and eating a burger large enough to feed a family of four all fall into this category.

Yesterday it was my turn to take hold of the metaphorical Gazette baton and do something memorable.

This time I didn’t need my Speedos, trainers or a large stomach, but nerves of steel as I abseiled down the side of the Big One rollercoaster - all 235ft of it.

I joined a D-Day veteran, a triple-amputee and 40 others who had fund-raised thousands of pounds for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity in taking part in the second annual event at the Pleasure Beach.

This challenge was split into two parts.

The first was a walk to the top of one of Europe’s biggest rollercoasters by navigating 420 steep steps.

These take you up to one of the most breathtaking views available on the Fylde coast, and can only rivalled by taking a lift to the top of the Tower.

The second, of course, is the - slightly more nerve wracking - trip back down on a rope.

Climbing over a perfectly good platform to dangle over the edge with only a few metal clips to hold you in place may seem like madness, and a good excuse to throw the towel in, but when an 89-year-old has already gone before you walking away isn’t an option.

“Trust the rope,” is the last thing I remember being said to me before I slowly descended from the sky.

The trip down seemed to be over in seconds, and I spent most of the time concentrating on not panicking as the Blackpool skyline whizzed past.

Harold Addie, 89, from Manchester, served in the Royal Navy throughout the Second World War, and was part of the Tank Landing Craft on D-Day.

He said: “I did this last year, but it doesn’t get any easier.

“I was a bit nervous climbing over the side, but once I got on the rope I felt great, and you can take in some fantastic views.

“You can see the Lake District and Southport, and on a day like this it is amazing.”