Team prepares for Portman Road fly-over

THIS lot are preparing to be all shook up when they embark on a terrifying zip-slide across Ipswich Town's Portman Road in aid of charity.

THIS lot are preparing to be all shook up when they embark on a terrifying zip-slide across Ipswich Town's Portman Road in aid of charity.

John O'Shea from Ipswich will be putting on his blue suede shoes for the event organised by St Elizabeth Hospice and plans to shake, rattle and roll as he flies across the football ground dressed as Elvis Presley.

Mr O'Shea, 37, will be among a number of participants on June 28 and 29, who will start from the top tier of the Greene King stand, 200 feet above the pitch, and begin the 335-foot zip-slide.

The daring bunch will reach speeds of up to 30 mph, before finally landing safely in the North Stand.

Everyone has to raise a minimum of £200 in sponsorship to take part.

Mr O'Shea, of Upper Cavendish Street, decided to undertake the adventure to raise the money because his mother died in a hospice two years ago and he wanted to do his bit to help.

Most Read

The father-of-one said: “My mother had cancer and died in a hospice in London two years ago. I wanted to give something back and do something for a good cause.

“I like Elvis. Whenever there is a karaoke, he is the one I impersonate.

“I have always been the one who has done these types of things in the past though I've never tried this before. I have done paragliding and bungee jumps before so I probably describe myself as a mini-adrenaline junkie.

“When I was explaining to the staff at the fancy dress shop, Incognito, about why I wanted the costume, it was quite emotional.”

Patsy Johnson, events co-ordinator at the hospice, said: “We are so excited to be able to offer people this 'once in a lifetime' opportunity.

“It will be fantastic to say that you are one of a unique group of people that have actually flown across the Portman Road pitch.”

Participants should be over 14-years-old and parental consent is needed if you are under 17. There is a minimum weight restriction of six stone or 38kg and maximum of 16 stone or 102kg. The registration fee is £30.

Services at the hospice include an in-patient unit, day care services, out patient clinic, a Hospice at Home service, family support team, complementary therapy and physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

For more information call the fundraising office on 01473 723600 or visit

Are you taking part in a different fundraising event? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

Young at heart great-grandmother Jane Bolton from Felixstowe can't wait to get on the zip slide - even though she's scared of heights.

The 73-year-old from Wentworth Drive has already raised £700 and the sponsorship money is still coming in.

She said: “I am 73 and overweight and have decided to grow old disgracefully.

“I have done some crazy things before but I've never tried a zip slide. I have got a real sense of adventure - I just hope I don't ruin the pitch! As you get older, if you don't try new things, you stagnate. I like to be outrageous. Everyone who knows I'm doing this has said I'm crazy.

“I have raised money for a lot of charities over the years. I have also raised money for St Elizabeth Hospice before because I know a few people who have benefited from their services.”

Peter Smith, a lifelong Town fan who has Down's Syndrome, plans to zoom across the stadium in style.

Although the 46-year-old, known as Smudge, lives in Kent, he tries to make it to as many home games as possible during the season with his carer, Wendy Hawkins, and her family.

It was at the Cardiff City game that he was given the form and after being told about the event, decided to do it instantly.

He said: “I wanted to do it. I'm not scared of heights. People have sponsored me to do this and I have raised £260 so far.”

Over the years, he has raised more than £12,000 for a number of charities, including running five marathons and going on a zip wire from Folkestone racecourse grandstand.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter