Video: Life is a rollercoaster for this Lowestoft accountant
Life as an accountant for local authorities might have its ups and downs, but no one would ever claim it was the most riveting of jobs.
So, it is perhaps unsurprising that David Ellis has chosen an unusual hobby to get his thrills.
Mr Ellis, formerly chief accountant for Waveney District Council, has just ridden his 1,000th rollercoaster ride, during an 18-day trip to north America, joining a select group to have reached such a milestone. Having developed a passion for rollercoasters on a trip to Blackpool at the age of the 10, the 48-year-old –who now works for the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy helping train local authority accountants – has spent the last 20 years or so travelling the world with his wife Susan in search of new and exciting rides.
Last year, he travelled to the Far East where he visited 27 Chinese amusement parks in 16 days, and he has just returned from an 18-day trip that saw him visit 27 parks in 10 US states and two Canadian provinces – adding 65 rides to his rollercoaster count and reaching the 1,000 ride milestone. Mr Ellis, from Lowestoft, believes no more than 40 people worldwide have ridden more than 1,000 different rollercoasters.
“It feels great to be part of such an exclusive club,” he said. “During our trip we drove about 5,000 miles which was pretty crazy and was quite an adventure in itself. Completing my 1,000th ride was a special moment for me because it has been in the distance for a long time and it was lovely to finally reach it. But the adventure goes on and there’s always new rollercoasters being built every year.”
Mr Ellis clocked up his 1,000th ride on a wooden rollercoaster called Tremors at Silverwood Theme Park in Idaho. He said: “The ride was very good. I was disappointed I only got to ride it once because we only had a couple of hours in each park. But I got a front seat ride and came out of my seat several times which is what we call air time and is rated very highly by rollercoaster enthusiasts.” During the trip, Mrs Ellis clocked up her 900th rollercoaster on a ride called Wicked at Lagoon Park in Utah.
The pair are members of both The Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain and The European Coaster Club. They have travelled all over Europe, the Far East, America and Canada, and were even married in Las Vegas on a rollercoaster trip.
Mr Ellis said: “Susan is not quite as mad as me because I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie. She rides pretty much everything but most of the time she is happy just to ride a coaster once and then let me ride as many times as I want to.”
Mr Ellis has his own YouTube channel filled with footage from his rollercoaster rides. In January last year, he filmed himself zooming down an alpine coaster in Austria and the resulting “Mieders Alpine Coaster (with no brakes)” video has now been viewed more than nine million times.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’ve got an unusual hobby.