Big Wheel taken for spin by Westside’s military cadets on poppy appeal thank you trip

Once you’ve signed up for a military career it’s impossible to know in which direction your career will take you.

So when Westside BID invited members of Broad Street’s Military Preparation College for Training (MPCT) to test the Big Wheel, it was inevitable that the energetic youngsters would enjoy mind-blowing 360-degree spins 40 metres above Centenary Square.

You can see how they started their own counter-revolutions by watching our special video here:

Westside BID treated the MPCT cadets to the ride as a special ‘thank you’ for their role in helping to deliver poppies and collect more than £1,500 worth of donations from the area’s businesses for the Poppy Appeal this year.

Elaine Weir, business liaison manager for Westside BID, said: “The trainees have been brilliant for helping me distribute poppies and collect donations, and I wanted to give them a special reward to remember!”

The cadets heping the Westside BID team with the poopy appeal.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Luan said: “College is a place for if you want to join the military where you can prepare yourself with fitness, course work and all of that top stuff.

“I want to go into the Royal Engineers and do carpentry. It’s ten times more fun than being at school and I wouldn’t want to go to university – this is the place to be.

“What really inspired me was (Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins instructor) Ant Middleton. He was the one who made me want to join.”

As the boys used their strength to spin everyone through the air whilst 40-metres high, Courtney said: “I’d always wanted to join the RAF from the age of six and my parents found the college.”

Courtney enjoys the wheel.

Helping to spin the pod was George who added that he, too, wanted to join the RAF – as a regiment gunner.

“I tried to go in as an engineer but I didn’t get the right amount of points in the aptitude test,’ he said. “So I thought I’d go for something more challenging.”

Was being 40-metres above Centenary Square giving everyone a taste for thrills above the forces?

George added that spinning everyone around had been “proper fun.”

Holding on to her breakfast, Chelsea said she would recommend the ride for a Christmas treat “if you like heights, but if not then probably not!”

Ex-fireman Ian Ryder, from Wolverhampton, has made a career about turn from running his own business through the stress of Covid and beyond to finding a new lease of life as a probationary trainer with MPCT.

Ian Ryder.

Ian said: “I’m having a great time with such a different way of life – I’ve already lost a stone myself. The training the youngsters are getting with MPCT will give them so much confidence and set them up for life.”

Additional information

After the big wheel experience, everyone went for a 45-minute skate on the ice rink where prices are £13 per adult and £11 for children aged 12 and under.

Ice Skate Birmingham, which also includes the Air and 55-metre Star Flyer thrill rides is open every day from 10am-10pm (except Christmas Day) until and including Sunday, January 7.

The Big Wheel is £8 per adult (£7 children) and the City Star Flyer is £7 (minimum height 1.4 metres, open from noon daily.

For full details see our story here:

The MPCT Way

Based in Quayside Tower, Broad Street the MPCT say it gives students ‘vocational and skills training, physical training, military training days and assessments with a curriculum designed to develop fitness, essential skills and self-confidence’. For more details visit

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