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Bristol water slide on Park Street proves a hit with riders

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 04, 2014

  • The water slide on Bristol's Park Street under construction this morning. Picture: SWNS

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Hundreds of people are hurtling down a giant water slide on Bristol's Park Street today, as the city centre is cleared of traffic.

More than 360 people were given tickets to slide after being chosen from around 96,000, using inflatable lilos on the 7 per cent slope, which has been lined with tarpaulin and lubricated with soapy water.

The slide was given the thumbs-up by health and safety inspectors who tested a trial version last year. It the brainchild of artist Luke Jerram, who specialises in 'living' installations and has an office on Park Street.

He was inspired by the scorching weather last summer and hopes his latest work will inspire Bristol's residents to "reclaim the streets" and "have some fun".

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Speaking at the event he said: "It's going really well, it took a bit longer than anticipated to set up but it's all up and running now.

"There are people dressed up and for as far as the eye can see there are spectators which is unbelievable.

"When I turned up at five this morning I was a little apprehensive but it's going great now.

"I was the first victim to go down the slide this morning and I went quite slow but it seems to be speeding up a bit now.

"To think 960,000 people applied for this, including people in Abu Dhabi, is breathtaking. It's fantastic that it all managed to come together.

"Bristol was the perfect place to do it because it's big enough to make it work but it's not so big that arranging it becomes impossibly expensive or complicated.

"We've managed to make this slide out of everyday items you would find on the shelf, so the plan is we set up instruction packs so cities all over the world can have their own go."

The slide, which was 90 metres long, was made of two rows of hay bales lined with a tarpaulin sheet sitting on a bed of foam matting to cushion the ride.

Luke, 39, tested a 50 metre version at the Ashton Court Estate on the outskirts of Bristol last October, where the relevant health and safety conditions were met.

Until yesterday (Sun) a full size version of the slide had not been created so the artist was a little apprehensive about the set up.

Of the 960,000 people that applied for a ticket for the slide, 370 lucky riders were able to enjoy the attraction.

One user, Rondene Vassell, 17, from Bristol, said: "It was so fast, much faster than I anticipated. It was great fun - I'm so glad I got to do it.

"It was so surreal going down such a familiar street that is usually packed full of people and cars.

"You're sliding down a very greasy road essentially and the momentum you build up whilst doing it which is just crazy.

"I found out that I would be going about a week ago and I've been getting more and more excited as the weeks has gone on.

"I think the weather has made the whole thing even more enjoyable. It's great that so many people have come down today as well, it's a great event for Bristol."

Another, Stephanie Pye, 19, from Backwell, North Somerset, said: "Going down the slide was fantastic - I'm so grateful I got the opportunity.

"I have been following the scheme from the start, when the petition went up online I must admit I was a little doubtful it would ever go ahead.

"To actually see it set up today was just amazing. It's a shame not more people got to go down it, but it's great so many people have turned up to enjoy the event."

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