A fearless restaurant boss is serving herself up a hair-raising airborne challenge to raise thousands of pounds for a cancer charity.
Celine Larnicol, manager of Pizza Express at the Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre in Wrexham, aims to notch up at least £2,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support by taking a heart-stopping zipwire ride which will see her being propelled through the air at 100mph attached to a cable hundreds of feet above Snowdonia.
And she admits that while she’s thrilled at the prospect of taking the nail-biting test, she’s also feeling “terrified” about doing it.
Pizza Express nationally has set itself the goal of raising £2 million for Macmillan over four years and is already well on course to hit the target.
Intrepid staff from the chain have taken part in a range of crazy fundraising events and last year 39-year-old Celine personally raised £260 by trudging over 200 feet up the track beside the famous Big One roller coaster ride in Blackpool.
This time things will get even scarier for her as she joins a group of a dozen other managers from Pizza Express branches in Cheshire and Merseyside at Zip World in Bethesda, Gwynedd.
Based at Penryhn Quarry, the ride offers thrill-seekers an experience which is close to skydiving without actually leaping from a plane.
It involves flying head-first for just under a mile exceeding speeds of 100mph down a mountain and then straight over a cliff, 500 feet above the quarry lake with spectacular views as far out as Ireland.
Celine, who is originally from Finistère on the west coast of northern France and has been working in restaurants for over 20 years, said: “I’m feeling 50/50 about taking a ride on the zipwire. Although I’m excited about it I’m also more than a bit terrified, as it’s so high up in the air and you go so fast.
“You don’t get to do any training in advance for it but I believe there are plenty of safety checks done on the day, so everything should be fine – and I’d do anything for Macmillan, which is a brilliant charity for the whole of Pizza Express to be supporting.
“Last year I was one of the managers who walked alongside the side of the Big One in Blackpool and that was a little scary because of the height but we were all roped together so we didn’t fall off and the views from the top right over the coast were fantastic.
“Together, we raised over £2,000 for Macmillan and that’s the target figure I’ve set myself for the zipwire challenge. I want to raise at least that amount and hopefully more.”
Celine’s zipwire experience comes as a highlight of a week of fundraising for Macmillan across Pizza Express from June 26-July 2, which will see the Eagles Meadow restaurant staging various fun events such as a competition in which diners can hunt for prizes by bursting balloons.
The team has a great record of boosting Macmillan funds. Last December a group of them, including Celine, kitted themselves out as characters like Darth Vader, Han Solo, Mara Jade and a cheeky little Ewok in a fundraiser to mark the opening of the blockbuster space epic, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, at the nearby Odeon cinema.
Eagles Meadow manager Kevin Critchley: “I take my hat off to Celine as she prepares to zip through the air with the greatest of ease in aid of such a worthwhile cause.”
To support Celine’s zipwire challenge, go to; www.justgiving.com/company/PizzaExpress