Saturday, May 12, 2007

Pocklington Flying Man Festival

This weekend it's the Pocklington flying man festival. It sounds like it should be something that's been a long standing annual event for the town but in fact it's just three years old.
So All Saint's Church have taken the idea and spun it into a weekend of celebrating a dead bloke with a fondness for jumping off tall buildings.......
There's hot air balloons, abseiling off the church, vintage car rallys, stalls in the church and even a flying Teddy Bear display. It's the final one that Molly is looking forward to most. One of her teddies is going to be taken up to the top of All Saint's Church, strapped into a harness and thrown off.
But luckily, all the advertising is designed to placate the worries of the children. All the teddies will be carefully looked after by trained professionals and all health and safety will be strictly adhered to.

As for the proper story of the flying man......

Here's a better version than my "mad bloke jumps off church" version:

It was the 10th April 1733 when a celebrated, brave and foolhardy entertainer from Burton Stather, near Scunthorpe on the banks of the river Trent, came to put on a ‘bit of a show’ in Pocklington.

His name was Thomas Pelling and from that fateful day he would become famous and thereafter be known as...
The Flying Man of Pocklington
There is a large church (All Saints) just off the town square in Pocklington whose foundations were laid by the Norman’s and was (still is) imposing enough to be known as The Cathedral of the Wolds
Its large square bell tower stands over 100 feet high and it was from this lofty vantage point that Thomas, in front of a large incredulous audience, would fly down a rope to the Star Inn, where he no doubt hoped to have a pint.
Now, the exact details of the rigging of Thomas’s ropeway have been lost in time but it involved a windlass, a lot of rope, a secure anchorage point and several men.
The time came for Thomas to fly, so with a short briefing to his men, which proved later to be totally inadequate, he climbed the bell tower stairs and out through the hatch on to the tower roof. He waved down to the crowds, climbed over the parapet, tied himself to the ropeway, gave the signal to his assistants and launched himself into the wide blue yonder!
Thomas didn’t make the pub; he didn’t even clear the church, due to a ‘misunderstanding’ with the men working the windlass, who could possibly have already been sampling the wares of The Star Inn! The ropeway became slack and Thomas was allowed to fly too fast and too low. With a sickening thud he flew straight into the battlements of the choir end wall
and with a fractured skull he fell to his death!
Thomas Pelling “The celebrated Flying Man of Pocklington” was buried where he had fallen at the East End of the church on the 16th April 1733, a wall mounted plaque celebrates his memory.

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