27 November, 2015
ROLLERCOASTER FAN GETS TATTOO OF FAVOURITE RIDE
A Welsh theme park fanatic has had his favourite rollercoaster ride tattooed on his arm.
Mark Lewis, who lives in Ebbw Vale, has had a tattoo of Oakwood Theme Park’s iconic wooden rollercoaster Megafobia to celebrate his long association with the ride.
The 45-year-old, who works at Llanarth Court Hospital, was among the first people to experience the ride when the Pembrokeshire park opened in 1996.
Earlier this year he recorded his 4,175th ride on the wooden coaster which has been voted the third best ride in the world by coaster enthusiasts from the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain.
Mark has used his love of rollercoasters to raise thousands of pounds for hospital charities and last year spent 40 hours on the ride over a five-day period to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital.
“I can remember my first ride on Megafobia like it was yesterday. I went to Oakwood Park for the opening day of Megafobia on 30th April 1996.
“My first ride was one row from the back. When the train reached the brake run I was blown away by how amazing this ride was, and so happy that we had this in Wales.
“After last year’s 40-hour charity rideathon I decided to get a special tattoo to mark the occasion and celebrate my ongoing love affair with Megafobia.
“After talking to a friend from work she told me about Kylie Talbot the owner of Gypsy Jayne’s tattoo studio. I popped down to see her, and she loves doing detailed work, so I knew straight away that she was the one to do my tattoo.
“After several hours of discomfort it was finished and I am over the moon with the result!” he added.
In 1996 Mark’s son Ryan was born. Soon after he was taken ill and spent a few months in the local children’s hospital before being transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
“After my son was given the all clear I spent most weekends at Oakwood riding Megafobia. I wanted to give something back to the hospital who cared for my son when he was ill.
“I asked if I could do a rideathon on Megafobia to raise money for the hospital. I was told yes, so I spent 12 hours on Megafobia in August 1996, and had 178 rides that day and this is still the record for most rides in one day.
“Since then, I have also done two more charity rides, one for The Golden Grove Mansion Appeal in 2010 where I rode Megafobia for seven hours and did 79 rides and again last year for Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Over the last 19 years Oakwood Theme Park has been amazing to me, and Megafobia is just as good today as it was back when it open in 1996, and I love it,” he added.
Built by the leading US company Custom Coasters International, the ride is close to a kilometre in length, is 26 metres at its highest point and reaches speeds in excess of 77 kilometres per hour.
Famed as one of the wildest wooden coasters on the planet, in 2010 it was listed as one of the Top Ten rides in the world in a poll conducted for Cheapflights.com.
With a maximum vertical angle of 55 degrees and 25 metre drops towards a lake combined with unique crossovers this twister has attained legendary status among coaster fans worldwide.
Issued by Oakwood Theme Park. For more information and to arrange interviews and picture/filming opportunities contact Clare Stansfield on 01834 815 181.