Record-breaking 80-hour see saw marathon underway in Twyford

Event aims to help raise £1.25 million for new Twyford Community Hub project

In 1969 two brash members of Twyford Youth Club earnt themselves a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

But now they are hoping that their long spell in the record books is coming to end – but they’ve got to wait until Tuesday to find out.

It was 50 years ago that Dave Turner and David Sutch set the record for the longest non-stop ride on a see saw. Their 80-hour stint saw the pair bounce 57,810 times, and no one has taken their crown in the intervening years.

Until now.

To mark the anniversary of the record attempt, and to raise funds for a new community hub for the village, a new see saw was pressed into action at 11am on Saturday, April 13.

If all goes to plan, Richard March, 38 and from Sandhurst, and Michael Jones, 36 and from Ruscombe, will become the new world champions at see sawing around 7pm on Tuesday, April 15.

Dave Turner has constructed a recreation of their original see saw, adding car seats for comfort and installing a toilet so that they can answer their calls of nature – Richard and Michael cannot leave the see saw at any point during the 80-hour marathon.

Crowds flocked to the former Polehampton Boys’ School just off the village’s High Street to see them launch their audacious bid.

And the well-wishers, as well as purchasing tea and cakes from a refreshment bar, could have a go on a secondary see saw, making a donation of at least £5 for half-an-hour of bouncing. Young and old took part including Liberal Democrat local election candidate Stephen Conway.

Dave Sutch, who now lives in Burghfield, returned to Twyford to join his former see saw partner to help launch the see saw attempt.

He said: “It’s fantastic. We were 19 and 20 at the time. I’m proud to be here today.”

And he recalled that back in 1969, he got into trouble with his bosses as he hadn’t realised that 80 hours would mean him missing a day at the office. He said that friends phoned in sick for him, but he then appeared on the front page of the local newspapers and he had some explaining to do.

He also offered advice to Richard and Michael. He said: “My top tip is to just enjoy it. There’s lots of interest in the event, that’s what keeps you going. That and the satisfaction of knowing you have done some good.”

When completed, the new Twyford Community Hub will see the former school, which is currently empty, turned into a library and venue for local organisations. Campaigners say that a health and well-being group for women are indicating that they would be one of the first to sign up.

Dave Turner said that the centre would cost £1.25 million to build.

He added: “People really like the idea. Three hundred people have liked the design and liked the idea of the centre.”

Visitors to the school are welcomed during the record attempt

Phil Creighton

Editor of The Wokingham Paper, and has worked in local journalism for more than 20 years including the Wokingham Times, Bracknell Standard and Reading Evening Post. He's also written for computer magazines, The Baptist Times and, to his delight and probably not yours, interviewed several Doctor Whos.

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