Paralympic swimmer, Claire Cashmore, who was born without a left forearm was told that she couldn’t go on the ride for safety reasons.
Cashmore, who was celebrating her birthday, tweeted: Not allowed on Smiler @altontowers because I only have one arm!!! Really?!!!
Alton Towers apologised but said that the policy had been put in place in case the ride had to be evacuated which could, in certain circumstances, involve the use of ladders. The resort said that current health & safety advice regarding the use of ladders required three points of contact at all times. Disability charity, Scope, were among the first to comment that the policy had not be well thought through.
“You’d think people would be able to see past the disability and just ask if I could do it,” said Ms Cashmore, who says that it’s the first time that she’s been denied access to anything because of her disability and also called for more clarity on ride restrictions.
Other disabled people and people with long term conditions, including arthritis or intermittent spasticity, for example, will now be concerned that they’ll also be barred from some of the rides at the Staffordshire theme park. Worse still, is that this draconian approach that bases its policies on ‘inability’ rather than ‘ability’ will almost certainly discourage visitors from feeling that they can be open about their disabilities; which is possibility yet more dangerous still.
Alton Towers apologised for the inconvenience, but said health and safety was its “main priority” and that they “would never put any guest at risk.”
For now, the policy remains in place and one super-fit, elite swimmer, who also likes to go rock-climbing in her spare time, will not be going on the Smiler ride.