Walk on glass roof cancelled

Mark Rycraft pictured with Bradley Lowery.
Mark Rycraft pictured with Bradley Lowery.

A SHOPPING centre boss has spoken of his disappointment after a daredevil charity feat in aid of a youngster battling cancer was cancelled.

Mark Rycraft, manager of Hartlepool’s Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, was due to take part in a glass roof walk over the top of Gateshead’s iconic Sage building at the weekend to raise money for a fund set up for Blackhall two-year-old Bradley Lowery.

But on Friday night, Mark was stunned to receive a telephone call from Sage bosses telling him the event had been cancelled due to health and safety fears.

Mark, 42, who told the Mail last month he was taking part in the scary experience at the building, which is up to 120ft high, despite a fear of heights, said: “I was absolutely gutted, I wasn’t pleased at all.

“The organisers said it was due to health and safety and that the walks themselves are damaging the roof.

“It had been taking place all over the summer and this was the last one, it’s a real shame.”

Mark, who has become involved in fundraising for young Bradley, who is battling rare childhood cancer neuroblastoma, through efforts by Hartlepool Round Table, of which he is a member.

The brave dad-of-one, who once jumped out of a plane to raise funds for Hartlepool & District Hospice, added: “I was peeved as I really wanted to help with Bradley’s cause.

“No doubt I will find something else to climb or jump off.”

Bradley’s mum Gemma, a 30-year-old NHS health trainer based at Healthworks in Easington Colliery, married to roofer/builder Carl, 30, and also mum to Kieran, 11, said: “It’s such a shame that it didn’t go ahead, we are disappointed.”

A sponsor page set up by Mark for the event raised £130 and he said that will go towards whatever replacement charity feat he manages to set up.

Phillip Baitch, commercial trading director at Sage Gateshead, said: “We’re extremely disappointed that we had to cancel the walk roof at the weekend.

“It was due to an unforeseen maintenance need that prevented the walk from going ahead.

“Sadly the window for the walks has now closed with the onset of the autumn/winter weather.

“However, we’re very much looking forward to welcoming customers back next year and very much hope we can rearrange a date for Mr Rycraft at the earliest convenience.”

Bradley was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in January and has had an operation to remove the majority of a tumour from his stomach.

Medics have warned against a planned operation to remove tumours from his chest, saying it will be too dangerous, and Gemma is pushing for her son to receive radiotherapy.

A fund has been set up to raise £500,000 for treatment in the US should Bradley suffer a relapse.