Tightrope walker's daredevil feat

AMONG those of a more nervous disposition, the mere act of looking out of the window of the Atlantis viewing tower might be enough to bring on an attack of vertigo.

AMONG those of a more nervous disposition, the mere act of looking out of the window of the Atlantis viewing tower might be enough to bring on an attack of vertigo.

But the 56m (185ft) drop and the towering views over Scroby Sands windfarm and the outer harbour site hold no fears for virtuoso tightrope walker Didier Pasquette - even though he will be seeing the sights of the Golden Mile from outside the tower, unprotected by glass and buffeted by wind.

The nonchalant Frenchman dropped into Yarmouth yesterday to size up his planned 180m (590ft) - uphill - tightrope walk from the roof of the Hippodrome Circus to the roof of the Atlantis Tower.

Climbing on to the roof of Maritime House, between the two landmark buildings, Didier said: “It is going to be possible to do it, but it will be tricky to get the rope in position with houses underneath and obstacles like telephone poles to avoid.

“You have to come and work out every fixing point; it is not possible to just turn up and do the walk.”

A 20-year veteran of the tightrope, he has walked across the Stade de France in Paris and the River Thames in London and was once the pupil of fellow Frenchman Philippe Petit, who found fame walking between the Twin Towers in New York.

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Didier, who teaches at a circus school in Chalons, France, said: “The key is to start practising with the rope at 1m and then raising it to 3m and upwards.”

The distance will certainly pose no problem as Didier completed a 1km walk last year in Seoul, South Korea.

Crowds are expected to line the seafront when he attempts his walk - without a safety net - during the resort's second Out There festival on the weekend of September 19 and 20.

Joe Mackintosh, chief executive of SeaChange Arts, which is organising the event, said: “The plan is to stage the walk on the Saturday morning but there will have to be a time window in case of strong winds.

“We are hoping it will draw thousands of spectators as it is a very big viewing area and this will be a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle.”

During the weekend, it is thought the festival could attract as many as 50,000 visitors from all parts of the region.

About 25 companies have already been signed up, many from the continent, to perform all kinds of theatre and zany street entertainment.

There will also be top-class music from around Europe and a spectacular parade, starting at three points in the town and converging on St George's Park, which will be transformed into a festival village.

Mr Mackintosh said: “One of the more unusual attractions will be a 50ft inflatable whale which will be one of the venues for shows in the park.

“A musical milk float will be coming, with milk bottles turned into instruments, and there will also be an insect circus and some incredible street acts.”

The festival was boosted by news last month that SeaChange has secured e590,000 of EU funding to develop the event over the next three years.

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