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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 September, 2003, 09:17 GMT 10:17 UK
Marathon ride offers roller coaster hope
Dreamland's Scenic Railway
The Scenic Railway at Dreamland has listed status
A group trying to keep a theme park open spent more than three hours riding its roller coaster in fancy dress to highlight their campaign.

The Dreamland amusement park in Margate is due to close at the end of the summer season.

Its most famous ride - the Scenic Railway - was built in the 1920s and was granted listed building status in 1991.

The campaigners rode the roller coaster for three hours and 20 minutes - and said they now had new hope the park might stay open.

Members of the Save Dreamland Campaign and the European Coaster Club spent 200 minutes on Saturday night on the ride, dressed in 1920s-style clothes.

I expected it to be quite a challenge spending just over three hours on the ride, but it was actually quite easy
Rich Foster, European Coaster Club
As well as using the event to raise awareness of their fight to keep the park open, they were sponsored, to boost funds for the campaign.

The marathon effort started at 2040 BST and finished at midnight.

Rich Foster, chairman of the European Coaster Club, said: "The time actually flew by to be honest and it was a really super atmosphere on the ride.

"I think we did 29 rides consecutively - actually it wasn't a problem at all.

"I expected it to be quite a challenge spending just over three hours on the ride, but it was actually quite easy.

"I shouldn't admit it, but it was quite easy and an awful lot of fun."

Then-owner Jim Godden announced at the beginning of the year that Dreamland would close.

The roller coaster
The campaigners will spend more than three hours on the ride

He said it was far too large for Margate as the resort is now, and he was considering replacing the rides with shops and indoor leisure facilities.

It won a reprieve for this summer season when new owners agreed to keep Dreamland open across the summer but was still due to close its doors for the last time this month.

But Mr Foster said he had heard of an attempt to keep the park open, under new management.

He said: "The whole of the park is threatened although I read that a French theme park operator is in talks with the owners to try and buy it.

"So there's still a lot of chapters still to run in the story of Dreamland and the Scenic Railway."

In pictures: Fire on Margate seafront
04 Apr 03  |  Photo Gallery
Seasonal reprieve for Dreamland
01 Apr 03  |  England
Master plan for Margate
19 Feb 03  |  England
New owner for Dreamland
20 Jan 03  |  England


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