HOW many people can you fit into a mini? The answer, thanks to a very flexible group of Eastbourne fund-raisers, is 27.
After five weeks of training and rehearsing, 27 women squeezed into a Mini at the David Lloyd Centre to break a Guinness World Record while raising money for Children in Need.
Paramedics stood by nervously as the women risked being crushed or suffocated in a bid to break a mark held by a New York dance club who forced 26 people in to the same car.
But now Eastbourne’s David Lloyd Club has stolen the title and the women, aged between 18 and 44, are delighted to be world record holders.
The event took place on Children in Need Day last Friday. The Mini, donated by Chandlers BMW, was brought inside the David Lloyd Club for the challenge.
Dani Maynard, who works at the David Lloyd Club and organised the challenge, said, “No-one really took us seriously when we first said we were going to do it and I don’t blame them really. They must have thought I was a ditzy blonde and didn’t think we would be able to do it.”
However, Dani was determined and hand-picked some of the slimmest and petite ladies to help with the challenge.
The rules stated that all 27 participants must be at least five feet tall and 18 years old. Most girls were under a size ten with many at a dress size four, six or eight.
The ladies practised stretching exercises, performed people pyramids and squeezed themselves into hula hoops for five weeks. They also rehearsed for two hours a time.
Dani said, “The rehearsals did not go well and did not fill us with confidence.”
On the night, with a crowd of 300 people watching, the girls squeezed themselves into the Mini in just 13 minutes.
The rules state doors and windows must be closed and helpers step away from the car for five seconds to prove the doors remained closed.
Dani added, “These were brave, gutsy, determined women and I am so proud of them.”
The women had ‘Pudsey’ as a codeword and used a buddy system so they could call for help if someone had severe problems breathing.
“It became very uncomfortable to watch at the end - it was like a horror film,” said Dani.
“As I was pushing the last girl in I was worried I was going to break her legs.
“Then once the doors close I just wanted to get them out because there was no air in that car.”
All the ladies were uninjured and paramedics treated just one woman as a precaution.
The Mini challenge was part of a Children in Need day at the David Lloyd in Hampden Park which raised more than £1,700.