A group of powerlifters from Greater Manchester are undertaking a Titanic challenge this weekend.
Lifters from the Olympic Gym in Salford will be attempting to lift the weight of the Titanic’s hull, a massive 24,360 tonnes, in just 12 hours.
The challenge was initially a daunting task for a small group of dedicated Manchester athletes but news of the attempt has spread and now over 50 gyms nationwide will be sharing the load.
Organiser Scott Britton told MM: “Every year I’ve done very small fundraising events but never really raised a lot of money so this year I wanted to do something that incorporated as many people as possible.
— Raising The Titanic (@raisingthetitan) April 14, 2016
“Up and down the country events are organised to raise money by running or cycling but there’s nothing to do with lifting.
“As a competitive power lifter myself, and knowing the community is as big as it is and how charitable people are within it, I knew that quite a lot of people would be prepared to help.
“Quite stupidly I thought there would only be a few of us that could do it at first but then when I realised what the hull weight of the Titanic was I thought we’d open it up to see if we could get a couple of hundred people involved.”
Despite the mammoth task they set for themselves, Britton and his fellow organisers Peter Williams and Sean Downs only began making arrangements for the event 12 weeks ago.
“Through our promotions on social media we started getting more and more gyms across the country wanting to run mini lifting events or run a 12 hour event alongside ours,” said Britton.
“So we thought ‘how can we make it even bigger?’
“We managed to get Pure Gym involved, so there are now going to be about 55 gyms in total taking part – it’s happening in Belfast, Glasgow, multiple locations in London, all over the country.”
— Raising The Titanic (@raisingthetitan) April 13, 2016
As word of the effort has spread, more and more people have come forward to help out.
And despite the size and strength of the power lifters involved, two men could be ready to put them in the shade.
“Graham Hicks and Mark Felix from World’s Strongest Man are coming down and it’s not just power lifters, but body builders, weight lifters, cross fit athletes too,” said Britton.
“A drill sergeant from the army who had been very personally affected by cancer in his family contacted us on twitter.
“He runs the army weightlifting team and wanted to get involved, so his base down in Gloucestershire are hosting an event too, with over 400 soldiers.”
Britton said that one of the best things to have come out of his efforts so far has been the opportunity to get a greater understanding of the Macmillan charity and the work it does.
“They are synonymous with nurses, but they also help with money issues, provide social workers and councillors,” he said.
“It’s a lot more work than people realise and takes a lot of strain off the Government.
“They are in a deficit in Manchester for what it costs to fund all their work. I’d be really proud to think we could help that raise awareness as well as money for them.
“We’ve raised £5000 so far which is great but we’ve got the opportunity to raise a lot more.
“We’re a bunch of big, strong, loud, people – let’s get some good out of that.”
— Raising The Titanic (@raisingthetitan) April 2, 2016
Everybody that attends the Raising the Titanic event will be asked to donate £5 as an entrance fee, either to lift or spectate, and then each lifter can get sponsored by their own friends and family.
The team have been flooded with messages of support and thanks from people whose lives have been affected by cancer.
“People started messaging us, people I’d never met before, just saying thank you for setting the event up, telling us their stories about lifting and cancer and Macmillan,” said Britton.
“We’ve decided to keep our momentum going and we’ll be organising a lift for a cancer fundraiser in June, for any cancer charity of the participants’ choice.”
Above all Britton hopes the day is going to be an exciting and enjoyable one for everyone.
And even the day has been chosen carefully – the iconic ocean liner sank on April 15 and the Raising the Titanic team will be lifting it back up on April 16.
“They say it can’t be done but we’re going to raise the Titanic,” Britton quipped.
To find out more, click here, or follow on Twitter: @raisingthetitan.