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Retford daredevil duo's ejection seat challenge

Being catapulted 200ft into the air in 1.4 seconds might seem a bizarre way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

But for the Retford Times’ two youngest members of staff, Fiona Bayes, (19), and Lindsay MacKenzie, (21), it seemed like a good idea at the time.

They teamed up to take part in the ejection seat challenge at Doncaster Leisure Park to raise money for the children’s renal unit at St James’s Hospital in Leeds, which is used by children from the area who need renal treatment or a kidney transplant.

Lindsay, (left), said: “It was a great opportunity to help out a charity and to experience the thrill of being catapulted skywards to a great height.”

The idea took off when a friend of Lindsay’s heard about the bungee jump and decided it would be just the right challenge for her.

She said: “My friend knows what a daredevil I am and she passed the information on to me about the challenge. That led to me making Fiona jump with me.”

Fiona, (right), said: “I took up the opportunity immediately when I was asked by Lindsay. I’m a very adventurous person and I like to try out different things.”

Entrants had to raise a minimum of £50 to take part but Lindsay and Fiona raised a total of £196 between them.

The ejection seat reverse bungee involves two people being seated in an open framed metal cage attached by bungee cords to 140ft telescopic towers.

As the winches stretch the cords to the top of the towers, the only thing holding them down is an electro-magnet. Suddenly, the power to the magnet is switched off and the cage is catapulted skywards.

Both girls seemed unfazed by what lay in store for them – until they actually arrived at the park.

Lindsay said: “I was buzzing, totally up for it. Until I actually saw the ejection seat from a distance and then I wondered what I had let myself in for!”

They weren’t reassured much by the marshals either who wound them up about what could go wrong before suddenly launching them skywards.

It made them a little bit apprehensive but renditions of ‘Show Me the Way to Amarillo’ kept their minds off the fact that they were airborne. And Lindsay wasn’t sure whether her hearing had been affected when she returned to terra firma.

Lindsay said: “I went deaf in one ear because Fi was screaming so much. And the cage spun round several times before we were lowered to the ground.”

But Fiona said of Lindsay: “She pulled some very strange faces! We have video evidence of the jump, myself screaming and then breaking into a song. It was an amazing experience.”