Thrill-seekers are being given the chance to win a place for the last ever ride on the Wicksteed Park pirate ships after the attraction was given a 12-month reprieve from closure.
The search for 32 lucky people to climb aboard for the final time later this year was launched to mark the opening of the park’s rides and attractions for 2016 on Friday March 25.
It was announced last year that the ride, which has been operating since 1982, would have to close due its age and increasingly high maintenance bills.
Soaring costs and the resources needed to keep it operational are preventing the park from progressing with exciting new ideas for the future.
The decision led to people taking to social media to re-live fond memories of the ride and the part it played in their childhood.
This has prompted park bosses to keep it open for one final year, to ensure it receives a fitting send off and they are now appealing for people to get in touch and say why they should be given a seat on the pirate ships when they swing into action for the final time this October.
For 2016 the park has enhanced the RUSH activity tower to include an Air Bag Jump, so you can pretend to be a movie stunt man or woman, plunging through the air with only a large inflatable bag to break your fall.
Also new this year will be a Sky Walk, a 90-metre enclosed treetop walkway of activities and obstacles suitable for adults and children alike.
There will also be a fantastic circular maze, made using 6ft tall natural fencing, a new garden by the aviary and an underground tunnel experience.
There will also be a farmyard experience including goats and sheep to start with and which will be expanded over the year. The park is hoping to replace the pirate ships with a Wave Swing that accommodates up to 40 people at a time.
Wicksteed Park Managing Director Alasdair McNee said: “Sadly, we are having to say goodbye to the pirate ships but we want to give them a memorable send off and so we have given them one final year.
“The stories and memories which people have shared regarding the ride gave us the ideas to give 32 people the chance to take the last ever ride this October.
“We are asking for people to contact us with their nominations and we will choose the most deserving applicants. But the decision to keep the attraction open for one more year means that everyone can come and have one final ride this year.”
Wicksteed Park was created by founder Charles Wicksteed as part of his vision to inspire and encourage play and outdoor exercise as part of families’ health and well-being.
It is currently planning a new £4.5million restoration and rejuvenation project which involves a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £2.5million. This comes a year after the completion of a successful Heritage Lottery Fund-backed £3million project that has restored the park’s lake to its former glory
Those wishing to submit nominations for the last ever pirate ship ride are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org or post a message on the park’s Facebook page.
Full details of park opening times for 2016 can be found at http://wicksteedpark.org/plan-your-visit/