New Forest firefighters take on flaming hot charity run in full gear
A FIREFIGHTING team completed a gruelling 60-mile charity run around all 11 stations in the New Forest while wearing their full safety gear.
The herculean two-day effort was tackled by four members of the Fordingbridge fire station team, in aid of the Fire Fighters Charity which supports current and ex-personnel and their families in need of care, writes Andrew Goldman.
Paul Dorrington, Lee Dorrington, Matt O’Hare and Colin Reeves trained for two full months in preparation for the run, which was originally due to take place in April but had to be postponed due to the pandemic.
Colin told the A&T: “One of our newest recruits has always wanted to get a challenge of some sort going.
“Originally the idea was to run from Fordingbridge to Lyndhurst, but that felt too easy so we decided to do something a bit bigger.”
Run over Saturday and Sunday, the team were fully kitted out with equipment and breathing apparatus on their back, with extra weight totalling up to 16kg.
Starting in Fordingbridge, the four-man team stopped at all 11 New Forest fire stations, cheered on by onlookers and motorists.
Colin said: “It was a lot tougher than we thought it was going to be.
“The physical and mental battle that you have with yourself is hard to deal with.
“We had winds blowing, rain coming at us sideways and you just have to dig deep and go to the end – then wake up the next day and do it all again. But we were all thrilled to finish in one piece.”
The fundraising target of £1,000 has been smashed with well over double raised by New Forest residents and businesses.
Colin added: “In terms of the reaction we had from the public, we had absolutely no idea just how generous and supportive people would be so we’re massively grateful to anyone who gave us a wave, a toot in their car and of course a donation.
“When we finished in Fordingbridge on Sunday, the adrenaline as we ran through groups of people cheering was a real rush – all the pain disappeared.”
The team was also supported by Fordingbridge businesses, such as the Cottage Loaf, the Gourmet Grocers and Detection Supplies.
Despite the mammoth run being over, Colin has assured people that this won’t be the team’s final challenge, saying: “We’re looking to do an annual event now – we think this will be the first of many.
“We’ll look to raise money for different charities too as we go along, but that’s another discussion to be had when we’re all a bit more rested.”