Disabled teen’s heartbreak at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Blessed Trinity student Nicky Shepherd who wasn't allowed on rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Blessed Trinity student Nicky Shepherd who wasn't allowed on rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

A Burnley teenager with cerebral palsy is leading a fight to ensure disabled people can enjoy funfair rides – after being turned away at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Blessed Trinity student Nicky Shepherd (15) was so upset at his treatment he has started a petition so other disabled people will not suffer the same humiliation.

The Year 10 student, who has been in a wheelchair all his life, went on a school trip in July to the Pleasure Beach.

However, despite going on the same rides the year before, when he got to the front of the queue he was turned away from rides such as the Big One, Avalanche and Infusion.

“It was upsetting as it was the first time ever my disability has got in the way,” said Nicky who has acted in CBBC’s 4 o’Clock Club.

“I have usually always found a way around it and it was such a shame as it was a school trip, I was allowed to queue up, to get to the front and then to be turned away.

“This is despite there being signs all over the Pleasure Beach saying the rides are accessible for wheelchair users.

“Last year I rode on every one but this year they said, because I couldn’t walk unaided, I couldn’t go on.

“My dad was my carer on the day and he was upset and angry for me.”

The family, who live in Ackroyd Road in Nelson, were so furious they wrote to the Pleasure Beach and BBC.

“We received a letter from the Pleasure Beach apologising and saying they would try to sort it out for 2015 but that didn’t really help me.”

Nicky, and his dad who is also called Nicky, have started a petition letusride.info where Nicky junior is campaigning for people with disabilities like himself to be able to go on the rides at Blackpool.

He added: “I don’t want people to feel like I did, all excited and then disappointed and all I could do was watch my friends go on the rides and talk about it. I want to change things and make them accessible to everyone in society.

“The ironic thing is I was on a poster for Alton Towers a couple of months ago to show how accessible they were for wheelchair users.”

A spokesman for Blackpool Pleasure Beach said: “We met with Nicky and his mother some weeks ago to discuss his visit to Blackpool Pleasure Beach, and how our Access Policy operates in conjunction with our legal obligation to ensure the health and safety of our guests is met.

“We remain in contact with Nicky, and look forward to his return visit to enjoy our rides and attractions.”