High Sheriff Hugh Tollemache and wife Rosie on the zipwire!

On Saturday we did two very important things and in dynamic Play Gloucestershire style we did them at the same time. We (hair!) raised some much needed funds and simultaneously had Santa-sized sack loads of fun.

Thirty-three fearless adventurers threw themselves off a launch pad more than 70m up in the blue winter sky and then hurtled nearly 800m across the water-filled quarry at the National Diving & Activity Centre in Tiddenham, in the Forest of Dean. The Play Rangers were joined in this zip wire excitement by our fabulous band of Young Volunteers, their parents, our Trustees and our VIP guests. Memorably, The High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, The Hon. Hugh Tollemache, and Rosie, his wife, leapt off the cliffs side by side to help swell our coffers.

Ashley – brother of The Diving Centre owner Darren Bryce – ensured our safe passage and looked after us wonderfully well. Pip, our Director of Play, first met Ashley when he was aged 5 in the mid 1980s when she worked in Gloucester and they happily reminisced about some epic outdoor play at the White City Adventure Playground.

Walking the length of the quarry to the launch pad focused everybody on the challenge ahead and each person in line had to step into a body harness, get clipped on to the pulley and then step off to be ‘zipped’. Suspended high over the quarry, the ride started at high speed. As the descent began to slow those with their eyes open could spot the divers moving around in the deep water of the quarry below.

Each person was cheered into land from the viewing platform. As the moon came up and the adrenalin surge waned, we congregated around our big celebration fire pit, eating home-made soup and Jess’s Mum’s gorgeous chocolate brownies. The Rangers placed strings of lights around the picnic area overlooking the River Severn as we all celebrated another busy and successful 2013.

This was a special day for our team and supporters. The party ended with a rendition of our Play Ranger song and shouts of Merry Christmas to one and all.

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