AN innovative fundraising drive to blow up a landmark chimney has raised more than £6,000 for two worthy causes.
And the prize of pressing the button to flatten Steetley chimney, in Hartlepool, has gone to town man Dave Fricker.
Mayor Stuart Drummond picked his winning ticket out at the Civic Centre yesterday.
The delighted 47-year-old Dave said he was “shell shocked” and thought it was a wind up when he got the call from the mayor.
Raffle tickets for the Steetley Chimney Blast cost £1 and have been on sale for the past few weeks at venues across town.
Around 5,400 tickets were sold and combined with cash donations the total amount raised is in excess of £6,000.
The total amount, which is yet to be confirmed, will be shared between Hartlepool RNLI and Hartlepool & District Hospice.
Mr Fricker lives in the Oxford Road area of town and is married to Lesley, 53.
The cabling installation contractor, who said he might still let his wife push the button, said: “It was a total shock when I got the call from the mayor, I thought it was a wind-up at first.
“I had actually forgotten I had brought the ticket so I am over the moon to win.”
Mayor Drummond said: “The response from the people of Hartlepool has been brilliant and it promises to be an exciting day.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Dave, a real once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
The chimney at the former chemical works site is due to be demolished on Sunday, July 29.
Greg Hildreth, events and community facilitator at the hospice, said: “We were delighted to have been chosen as one of the charities.
“We are really pleased with the amount of money raised and it was great to see Hartlepool get behind the initiative.”
Beryl Sherry, chairman of Hartlepool RNLI, said: “It is a great amount of money for two good causes.”
The controversial site, plagued by arsonists and trespassers in recent years, is being cleared five years after the Hartlepool Mail launched a campaign to get the area made safe.
Sirius North East has been contracted to clear the site by the land’s owners, Starford Holdings.
Phill Collings, remediation director for Sirius North East, said: “It has been a real pleasure to have been part of this and we are all looking forward to the day itself.”
Mr Fricker, who had ticket number 06906, will press the button and also won an iPad.
Second prize, ticket number 04561, is a sea fishing trip for four adults and six children. Third prize, ticket number 08050, is a luxury weekend break for two and fourth prize, ticket number 09897, is a £100 Marks & Spencer voucher.
There are plenty of other prizes available and winners will be contacted in the coming days.