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[07 JAN 99] COMMUNITY NEWS
Coventry To Celebrate Millennium With Tightrope Walk

Coventry aims to put itself on the map world-wide with a sensational eve of millennium high-level tightrope walk between two of its famous church spires.

Ramon Kelvink
RAMON KELVINK, FRENCH TIGHTROPE SPECIALIST

French tightrope specialist Ramon Kelvink aims to perform a feat which defeated his world-famous predecessor Charles Blondin, hero of the death-defying walk across Niagara Falls in the last century.

Blondin wanted to walk between the spires of Holy Trinity Church and Coventry Cathedral, a distance of 80 metres, in 1884 but the city council would not allow it.

This time there appears to be no opposition from the local authority or from the Church who have welcomed the initiative by Coventry & Warwickshire Promotions.

Kelvink was in the city today meeting with engineers, architects and the church authorities as they assessed the various safety aspects of the high-wire walk.

Kelvink, using a fifty metre balancing pole, will perform on a wire attached to the church steeples 50 metres above the ground.

He said:

"All high wire walks are difficult. I have walked across the second stage of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Piazza Navona in Rome and La Grand Place in Brussels.

"I have walked when ice has been forming on the wire and my most difficult was during an electrical storm when lightning struck my pole. I want to do this because my fellow countryman Blondin tried to do it, and I think it will be a symbol of hope to the people of Coventry. Everyone needs a symbol to cling to going into the 21st century."

Provisional contracts were being signed before Kelvink flew back to France with his wife Marion.

The walk will cost 30,000 to stage, but Rae Hoole, events organiser for Coventry & Warwickshire Promotions, said:

"The money is there. It will be a spectacular event which we think will capture attention world-wide as one of the most imaginative ways of celebrating the millennium."
   

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CWN / Community / 7 Jan 99 / Coventry To Celebrate Millennium With Tightrope Walk

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