When Danny Law walked into an Ilkeston engineering firm as a fresh-faced 17-year-old little did he realise that it would lead to building rollercoasters for theme parks across the world.
Two decades on from joining Garmendale Engineering, he is doing just that.
The 37-year-old has gone on to help make rollercoasters that have been used at attractions in Dubai, Orlando and Alton Towers.
Not only that, Danny, who comes from Ilkeston, has worked on other major projects, including the London Eye and Wembley Stadium.
But the project that he takes the most pride in is one of his most recent creations – the Go Jetters Vroomster ride at C Beebies Land, which can be found at Alton Towers.
The father-of-three said: “It probably meant more to me than all of the others as my kids are the right age to enjoy it.
It took nine months of hard graft to build the Go Jetters Vroomster ride
“It was a proud moment to see it running so beautifully after nine months of real painstaking graft in the workshop.”
That workshop is based at Garmendale’s manufacturing facility on the Manners Industrial Estate.
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Founded in 1980, the firm is a second-generation family run theme park engineering
Over the years it has delivered bespoke, challenging solutions for a wide range of companies including Alton Towers owner Merlin, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Bobbejaanland, Chessington, The Snowdon Mountain Railway and even The Orlando Eye.
And as workshop manager at Garmendale, Danny has had a hand in most of these projects.
Danny hard at work at Garmendale’s Ilkeston workshop
He said: “The first project I remember was a battery-powered train for a hotel in Rhodes.
“Looking back, I was a very small player in the overall team – although it never felt like that – but it struck me how international the business was and that what we were making was being sent all over the world.
“We also played a big part in what was classed as New Wembley Stadium. It started as some small fabrications for additional on-site steelwork, but grew and grew; we ended up being there for 13 months.
“My biggest highlight during that time and being a huge football fan was meeting England players David Beckham and Wayne Rooney.
“Several years ago we produced new carriages for Snowdon Mountain Railway, four wasn’t enough they came back for two more – this time vintage. It was a huge project for a little firm in Derbyshire, but another one that I have been on as a passenger with my kids.
“We spent years on site working on the London Eye, installing new safety systems, gates and generally maintaining the structure.”
Danny joined Garmendale as an apprentice. He had been introduced to the opportunity through one of his hairdressing mum’s clients.
Danny joined Garmendale as a fresh-faced 17-year-old apprentice
Today, he leads an expanding team of dedicated engineers who make and maintain rides for many of the biggest theme parks in the world.
He said: “It’s amazing to think I walked in to Garmendale off the street looking for a job, yet ended up working on some of the biggest landmarks in Britain. It’s a big thing for me looking back at it.”
But according to Danny he does have on regret.
He said: “I wish I’d taken more photos of my work. It was different back then. Lads like me didn’t have cameras.
“It’s easy now with phones and digital cameras although I can’t share the images until the time is right but, back then it just wasn’t done.
“To be able to look back at some of my older work now would be amazing.”
Right now, Danny and his team are currently working on rides for New York and Abu Dhabi, and are taking on two more apprentices.
Over the years Danny has had a hand in building a number of rides destined for major theme parks and visitor attractions
David Shelmerdine, Garmendale’s managing director and son of founder Roy, said: “Danny has been a huge success story for us and he isn’t the only one, he has worked hard to gain the skills he now has.
“We’re proud of the opportunities we have provided and even more proud of how he has grasped them with both hands.
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“Mechanical and electrical engineering apprenticeships work for people who are determined to work hard and learn.
“The rewards come with time, but the satisfaction of making rides and machines that people love is a huge one.”
Source: Derby Telegraph