The charity climb was organised by Home Start’s Dona Kirkham, who is their Corporate And Community Fundraising Manager. Dona approached Donna (luckily they spell their names differently) and suggested she might like to take part on behalf of Barker Booth & Eastwood. Donna thought it would be an excellent idea for Barker Booth & Eastwood to support Home Start as she believes they do excellent work locally. She just knew it wouldn’t be her doing the climb as she hates heights. However, she knew just the person within Barker Booth & Eastwood to go right to the top.
When Donna suggested to Anne that she should represent Barker Booth & Eastwood on the top of The Big One it took Anne several days to give her a firm answer. When the answer duly arrived it was a firm yes she’d be happy to do it. On one condition; that there were two representatives of Barker Booth & Eastwood and that the other representative was Donna. Awkward for Donna, she couldn’t really refuse!
On the allotted day, Anne and Donna reported in at The Pleasure Beach at 6pm to see there was a notice saying the ride had been closed that day as it had been too windy for it to operate. Surely they wouldn’t be walking up now because if it was too windy for someone to go up sitting down and strapped in there’d be no chance it would be ok for someone to ascend standing up, would it? Apparently, it would still be ok to walk up, wind or no wind.
After getting strapped into their safety kit and listening to the safety briefing the ascent began. Their group leader, from The Pleasure Beach, stopped every 50 or so metres and gave them a little talk on the history of the Pleasure Beach and of The Big One in particular, whilst pointing out some of the things they could see because the views were spectacular.
Everyone made it to the top, where they had time to admire the views way into the distance in every direction. After the climb and the euphoria of the view from the summit, coming down was a lot easier because they knew that every step down was a step closer to firm land.
Looking back on the experience, Donna said, “Climbing The Big One was certainly something I’d never have planned to do but once Anne said she’d do it, I didn’t have much choice. Both Anne and I work in Family Law so we’re very aware of the excellent support Home Start gives local families. We set up a JustGiving page and aimed to raise £1,000 between us. We’re actually quite proud to say that so far we have raised more than double this amount.”.
Home Start’s Dona Kirkham says she chose the Big One climb as a fundraising event because of its strong association with Blackpool and the fact that Home Start do so much work in Blackpool. Talking about Home Start, Dona explained, “Although Home Start is a national charity, this event was designed to raise funds specifically to support local families. Home Start helps any family that is struggling, especially after the arrival of a new baby. Our volunteers go into homes and help the family get through the initial phase of becoming a family by going on walks with them or helping them get out to other events such as coffee mornings. It’s all about giving families their self confidence back. It costs about £1,500 per year for us to support a family and this is where the money raised will go.”