Category Archives: Big Banana Relay

No Limits!

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Even when not carrying bananas our gorillas like to do their bit for Teenage Cancer Trust. All year the sites have been raising funds in their own ways and 26th September was no exception for the Alice Holt tribe.

With clouds above, solid ground below and churning stomachs somewhere in between, Louise, Viki, Sophie, Sam and Dennis headed out to Old Sarum Airfield in Salisbury to skydive from 10000ft for Teenage Cancer Trust.

10am: Check in and safety brief … and lesson in ‘practical body positions’!

11am: Egg and bacon muffins … makes a change from leaves and bananas.

12 noon: The first plane takes off, the clouds part, the plane disappears, the plane comes down. No jump. Sad faces.

1pm: BLUE SKY IN THE DISTANCE.

1.30pm: The plane takes off and parachutes come down.

2.30pm: Viki discovers our tribe are all on the next plane up. Nerves seriously kick in!

3.30pm: Our names are called.

3.45pm: Gorilla Sam and friends are harnessed up. Ready to fly!

4.00pm: TAKE OFF! The ground gets smaller, the sky gets bigger.

4.15pm: 10000ft. Dennis goes very quiet. Louise won’t let go of the plane.

4.16pm: JUMP!! We fall through the air at 120mph, dropping 5000ft in 30 seconds, pulling faces at the cameraman as we go. The parachute opens and we float down through the clouds, arms outstretched.

Views are spectacular across Salisbury and even the Isle of Wight.

4.20pm: TOUCHDOWN! Happy faces. A few more photos and a group hug. Hurrah, we mashed it!

4.25pm: CHAMPAGNE TIME. No one can quite believe we’ve done it!

Thanks to all those who sponsored us for this great cause and for everyone’s support. We are all ready for a 15000ft jump!

 

You can still donate at justgiving.com/Go-Ape-Alice-Holt

The One We’ve All Been Waiting For…

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It’s been a long time coming but finally it was our turn- Banana HQ’s time to get hot and sweaty in gorilla suits.

Preparation for the big day involved a few (aka none, but we like to think we did some preparation) practice rides, and Nick ‘Number Cruncher’ Hall having a moment of confusion in the sports shop. No straightforward kit buying for him. Goalie shorts may be padded but perhaps not in appropriate places for 45 miles in the saddle!

So, with “When in Cambridge and all that” ringing in our ears there was really only one way to begin the journey to Woburn. We set off (from Marketing – Jen, Charlotte, Anna & Kate; from the Party People – Steggles & Hardy; From Finance-Nick ‘Number Cruncher’ Hall; and from Strategic Monkey Ops – Tris & Becs) down to the river for a quick pint punt. With gorillas and bananas on board we had a jolly good time messing about on the water but at some point the hard work had to begin. Massive thanks to our friends at Scudamores Punting Company for letting us loose on the river.

With 20 miles of the ride completed we stopped to bask in the sunshine and to demolish large quantities of cake- doing everything for our energy levels and nothing for our waistlines before setting off again. There was evidently some confusion over the route but surely it wasn’t in any way planned that we should encounter the biggest hump in Bedford along the way? And pure coincidence that the Chief Silverback and Greyback had the opportunity to show off their hill-climbing dominance to the group!

Once rejoined by the rest of the tribe and safely down the other side there was just the matter of trying to break into Woburn Safari Park, something no wild animal has ever chosen to do before, with seemingly every gate locked. When we finally managed to get through the gate we powered 100m to the finish line to receive a hairy welcome from the Woburn Tribe.

An amazing day out for a great cause. We wish the final sites all the best in their legs!

You can still donate at justgiving.com/goape

 

 

The Dawn Riders

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With little time to spare the Thetford team (Sarah, Victoria, Andre & Jack) had to ensure they were prepared for their relay leg by sleeping in the cabin. Rising at 5, even before the sun, they readied themselves and their transport – feeding, grooming, stroking! Having harnessed the 12 beautiful Huskies to the quad bike the race was on. For a couple of hours they careered around the forest with banana on board and still made it in to work for 8.30. Now that’s dedication.

After all that fun the gorilla was still only in Thetford Forest so the team employed the services of a pony and trap to get to Banana HQ. After much ooing and aahhing from certain HQ personnel the cute creature (pony, not gorilla) was allowed to leave and the banana was handed over.

Simply Out Of This World!

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There were those who said it would never happen, that it was a hair-brained scheme and an act of complete lunacy …. but, in the truest sense of ‘Living Life Adventurously’, JAMIE PUT A BANANA & MONKEY INTO SPACE! Ok, not a real monkey, and not outer space, but surely an amazing feat of engineering and ape courage. This is how it happened……

Preparation started weeks before, designing a lightweight ring and casing for a couple of cameras and trackers to protect them from the cold and what would be a rough landing. Far from worrying about a deflating banana, this one was filled with polystyrene balls to prevent an epic fruity explosion. Less care was given to Monkey who was dispatched in only a tee shirt despite the minus 50 temperature. With payload and lift finely balanced the balloon was launched at 14.10 on 12th September 2014 to the cheers of the assembled spectators and Gorilla Astronaut Beth. Flying through the clouds and into space at 4m/s Monkey managed to keep a smile on his face throughout and, even when the weather balloon burst 32km up, he managed to wave at the cameras as he hurtled back to earth under a parachute. Thanks to some accurate flight path predictions (courtesy of Cambridge University) and the tracking devises the Banana & Monkey Recovery Team managed a speedy retrieval somewhere in a field in Lincolnshire. And the video footage? Extraordinary!

 

TAKE A LOOK AT THE VIDEO HERE: Go Ape in Space

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