Alton Towers: 44,000 sign disability awareness petition

Rita rollercoaster, Alton Towers

44,000 people have signed a petition for Alton Towers staff to receive disability awareness training following a reported incident at the park.

Hannah Cheetham, who has cerebral palsy was removed from the Rita rollercoaster after staff allegedly watched her be carried onto the ride by her sister Becky.

A Facebook post by Becky on the Alton Towers official page also claimed that earlier staff had shouted “she can’t walk” to one another as she prepared to board the Smiler rollercoaster.

Ms Cheetham said she was in tears after staff “embarrassed” her by “publicly” removing her sister from Rita, leaving her “angry and fed up due to the ignorance” of workers.

‘Deeply sorry’

Alton Towers said it was “deeply sorry” for the incident, which occured on Monday.

Park spokeswoman Kate McBirnie, said the experiences fell “well below the high expectations we have for our employees”.

“At Alton Towers Resort, we pride ourselves on being an inclusive resort and we really value the feedback that Hannah and Becky have sent to us,” she added.

“We have certainly listened and we want to do better – particularly in the area of staff training and the way we communicate ride restrictions to guests with disabilities.”

Operating procedures for rollercoasters generally require riders to be able to walk a certain distance, so that they are able disembark from the ride should it need to be evacuated.