Bank Holiday Glass Walking at the Harvey Shopping Centre, Harlow

Adapted from LifeTime-Harvey Shopping Centre by Lucy Thomas

Glass walk at the Harvey Centre, Harlow

Glass walk at the Harvey Centre, Harlow

As family and friends crowded around the cordoned-off area where staff prepared for the first of the five challenges, Eric Rogers listened to a safety briefing from fire and glass walking expert, Martyn Helliwell of Survivorbility. Martyn asked Eric whether he would undertake an extra warm up challenge to help focus his mind before walking barefoot on a 6 foot long ‘carpet' of broken glass. Luckily for the crowd that had gathered, Eric agreed.

The first thing Martyn said he would get Eric to do was break an arrow with his throat. Emphasising all the time that this was not to be tried at home, Martyn held a two foot long, metal tipped arrow in the hollow of Eric's throat and explained what he then wanted Eric to do. “I need you to walk towards me at a steady pace”, he told him. "Once you feel some pressure, keep going,” Finishing with “Trust me”, Martyn got Eric to walk towards him, keeping the point of the arrow in Eric's throat. Eric's wife Rowen was amongst those who held their breath as Eric stepped towards Martyn and the arrow bent under the pressure. Then Eric took one final step and the arrow broke much to the relief of Eric, Rowen and the crowd!

Once Eric had recovered his breath it was time for a demonstration from Martyn of the event we had all come to see – the glass walking. Martyn explained that the glass was not ‘stunt' glass or safety glass, but old wine bottles and other curved containers broken into different sized pieces. Eric would be walking, barefoot across 6 feet of broken glass and while there was a risk he could cut his feet, if he listened to the glass and trusted himself, Eric would make it safely across. And with those words, Martyn carefully walked across the glass!

So, the time had come for the first of Eric's real challenges. He removed his shoes and socks and stood at the start of the glass path. Taking a deep breath and listening to Martyn's instructions, he carefully placed his left foot onto the glass. Then he moved his right foot forward and, transferring his weight, stepped fully onto the path. As he took his cautious and deliberate steps the glass groaned and cracked beneath him, but Eric continued undaunted. Once again the crowd held its breath; it is one thing watching stunt professionals do this sort of thing on TV, but quite another to watch a friend, colleague or ‘ordinary' person do it right there, in the shopping centre! And, once again Eric succeeded! He made it safely across the 6 feet of broken glass to stand at the other end, unscathed and with a huge smile breaking across his face. The crowd broke into cheers and applause in admiration of his achievement.

Afterwards Eric admitted he had been “more nervous about this than any of the other challenges this week. It was absolutely a fear of the unknown, of what could happen. Especially when I saw the broken wine bottles, it all seemed so much more real! “I am really pleased I was able to do it. I had some doubts when I saw the glass for the first time, but there was no way I was going to back out. Eric is raising money for two Harlow charities, Accuro and PACT Harlow and has raised nearly £400 in sponsorship already.

One Response to "Bank Holiday Glass Walking at the Harvey Shopping Centre, Harlow"

  1. Jeff Awesome says:

    Good work raising the money! Doesn't sound like my idea of a good bank holiday weekend though! Good on you for managing it though!
    .-= Jeff Awesome´s last blog ..Bank Holiday Money Woes =-.

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