WATCH: ‘My swooshing trip down Sunderland’s giant waterslide’

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THINGS went downhill fast for yours truly yesterday – but I couldn’t have been happier.

A dry (or should that be wet?) run for next months’s massive Wearslide event at Herrington Country Park and an invited audience – including myself – were urged to grab an airbed and take the plunge down the 100m course.

The first run proved a little damper than I would have liked.

Trying to shoot video by holding the Echo’s trusty Flip camera in front of me throws the weight off and half way down the course, the airbed spins round.

The good news is, we only travel backwards for a few yards. The bad news is that’s because the airbed and I have pretty quickly swapped places altogether and it is now travelling down the plastic chute on top of me.

Deciding to give up the camera as a bad job, I go again – and again – and again.

Sunderland Echo Business reporter Kevin Clark trying out the Wearslide at Herrington Country Park.

Sunderland Echo Business reporter Kevin Clark trying out the Wearslide at Herrington Country Park.

And it’s great.

Standing watching, the riders don’t seem to be travelling that fast, but swooshing down the course on an airbed, you skim the 100m length of the run in seconds.

Once you get the hang of steering – it’s basically done like a sledge, with the feet – you’re free to enjoy yourself.

“I am really pleased with it,” said Sunderland Live event manager Jessica Regnart.

Standing watching, the riders don’t seem to be travelling that fast, but swooshing down the course on an airbed, you skim the 100m length of the run in seconds.

“It is the first time we’ve had it out and really looked at how it is set up.

“ It took a little bit of tweaking but it looks just how we wanted it to, and it will look even better on the day.

“I think it will be a really good day for the whole family.”

Wearslide will be held in the park on Saturday and Sunday, April 25 and 26, with a 100m slide for adults, and a less adrenaline-fuelled 50m run for children and those of a less adventurous disposition.

Sunderland Echo Business reporter Kevin Clark trying out the Wearslide at Herrington Country Park.

Sunderland Echo Business reporter Kevin Clark trying out the Wearslide at Herrington Country Park.

The Echo revealed in September that plans were in place to bring a massive waterslide to the city.

Artist Luke Jerram installed a 95metre slide in Bristol’s Park Street in May, with more than 96,000 people joining a ballot for the 360 places available.

Sunderland Live secured the rights to do the same on Wearside .

An appeal to the public to show their support met with an overwhelming response, with the Echo’s website and Facebook page inundated with would-be sliders.

Mum and daughter Julie Moon and Lyndsey Jennings were the first two confirmed sliders after school secretary Lyndsey scooped tickets in a competition on the Sunderland Live Facebook page.

Tickets for Wearslide went on sale in November, and sold out within 90 minutes.

Sunderland Echo Business reporter Kevin Clark trying out the Wearslide at Herrington Country Park.

Sunderland Echo Business reporter Kevin Clark trying out the Wearslide at Herrington Country Park.

A second day was announced in December in response to the overwhelming demand.

As well as a test-run for Wearslide, yesterday saw Sunderland Live unveil its 2015/16 Charity Partnership, which will see four local charities benefit from fundraising opportunities at several 2015/16 Sunderland Live events, including Sunderland International Airshow.

This year’s charity partners have been confirmed as The North East Autism Society, St Benedict’s Hospice, MS Society Sunderland and The NSPCC.

Catrina Flynn, fundraising manager at St. Benedict’s Hospice said: “As a Sunderland-based charity that supports patients and their families from Sunderland, it is wonderful to be working with an organisation that is striving to make a real difference in the area that our beneficiaries come from. 

“People can be assured that any funds raised will be used locally for the support of local people.”

MS Society chairman Carl Brown, promised all money raised from Wearside events would be used to benefit people locally.

“We are pleased that all funds raised are to be used within the Sunderland area; ensuring people and their families get the much-needed help and support that they require and at a local level.”

Nihad Cehic is NSPCC community fundraising manager for the North East and was among those taking part in yesterday’s test run.

“We are have been excited about this for quite some time,” he said.

Trial run of the Wearslide in Herriungton Country Park, on Thursday.

Trial run of the Wearslide in Herriungton Country Park, on Thursday.

Trial run of the Wearslide in Herriungton Country Park, on Thursday.

Trial run of the Wearslide in Herriungton Country Park, on Thursday.

Sunderland Echo Business reporter Kevin Clark trying out the Wearslide at Herrington Country Park.

Sunderland Echo Business reporter Kevin Clark trying out the Wearslide at Herrington Country Park.