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Island’s first escape room built by visitors

Alderney | Published:

A FAMILY of regular Alderney visitors raised more than £1,000 for charity by building the island’s first escape room – made almost entirely of Impot rubbish.

Richard, Bruce and Jane James in their escape room at the wildlife bunker at Les Rochers.

Bruce James, Jane and their son Richard, from Oxford, transformed the interior of the wildlife bunker on Les Rochers into the inside of a submarine which was scheduled to blow up the breakwater unless a bomb could be defused.

It was the first ever room that Bruce, an eye surgeon, Jane, a writer and Richard, a hospital doctor, had ever attempted to create, although they had enjoyed visiting several in the UK.

They set themselves the challenge of creating one for Alderney Week to raise money for Alderney Wildlife Trust.

It was such a success that they plan to bring it back next year.

Each team of up to six found ingenious pictorial, numeral or lettered clues in places such as a periscope, on maps and letters and through picture viewers’ coloured glasses to discover codes and keys to locked drawers and boxes. Teams were given an hour to dismantle the bomb before it detonated.

The family monitored their progress through a camera and rang an old-fashioned telephone to deliver clues if the team was veering wildly off course.

Blue-hued lighting and clanging submarine noises through Bluetooth added to the undersea atmosphere.

‘We enjoy doing escape rooms and thought we would see if we could build one ourselves,’ said Mrs James.

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‘Alderney is the perfect place for an escape room because of its WWII bunkers.’

They found most of what they needed for construction from the Impot and it took them three days to construct.

‘We used things like defunct fire extinguishers and sprayed them with utilitarian grey paint and collected boxes, desks and pipes for the interior and covered walls with sheets with maps painted over them.

Things that were hard to find on-island they brought with them.

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‘My suitcase was filled with padlocks, chains and various tools which must have looked a bit suspect when I went through security,’ said James.

More than 35 teams pitted their wits against the Escape Room and the fastest exit time was 39 minutes.

The James family plan to return next year with a new room.

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