Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, renowned for his fearless Olympic ski jumping, yesterday – Thursday 7th June – took on another death-defying descent…this time braving strong winds and hammering rain in a harness dangling at 53m in an emergency exit from the new Weymouth SEA LIFE Tower.
The legendary former Olympic skier was roped in by the team to help in the final testing before the Tower opens on 22nd June. Passengers will get to the top in a rotating observation deck, which spins gently around a 53m central column. In the unlikely event the observation deck ever fails there are a number of options for getting guests safely back down to the ground, including via a harness pulley system, which 48 year old Edwards duly tested yesterday morning.
Weymouth’s stunning new observation attraction will provide guests with a bird’s-eye view of the Olympic/Paralympic Sailing Arena, and it was after reading that Eddie had been snubbed for the Torch Relay in his native Gloucestershire, that SEA LIFE thought of inviting him to the Tower instead.
“After I got the call I thought, why not? It sounded like fun” remarked Eddie “Being lowered down in the harness and putting my life in someone else’s hands was a new experience for me. Although I’m sure it looked daunting I did feel completely safe and was more than happy to help. I definitely give it my Eagle seal of approval”
“The original plan was simply to get Eddie to make the first official ascent…to ‘carry the torch’ for all those passengers who will soon be enjoying spectacular views of the Jurassic coastline” commented Craig Dunkerley, General Manager at the attraction. “Then I remembered we needed to test the escape winch, even though we hope and trust we’ll never need to use it in a real emergency, and Eddie seemed like the perfect fit; after all he has got a head for heights”.
The 53m descent didn’t faze the former Olympian who, back in 1988, was the sole British entrant in the Calgary Olympic ski jump contest and soared his way into the hearts of the nation in spite of finishing last.
His amazing life is soon to be celebrated in a film biopic with Harry Potter star Rupert Grint portraying Eddie.