TRIBUTE by BRAD HARDWIDGE
Over the last few days I had the pleasure to help out with a fundraising event for Children in Need. Some ran in stages, some cycled and some walked the 102 miles from 8 am Wed morning until 5 pm tonight.
Deprived of sleep for nearly 60 hours they made the journey along the Cotswold Way from Chipping Camden to Bath Abbey.
Today I had the honour to walk with them on the last leg of their epic jouney. I watched them take the painful steps.Their legs, cramping & locking up, huge blisters like hot coals in their muddy boots. At times delirious with fatigue.
They didn't moan about the discomfort, they didn't complain about the bitter cold, the November morning threw at them. They walked & they stumbled over the rocky paths. They slipped on the muddy tracks that sapped their energy and dragged their tired limbs over the stiles, wincing as their feet once again touched the earth.
Today I was truly humbled. I am in awe of their achievements. They did it all to better the lives of children. They suffered to help the thousands of children that suffer every day.
I was proud to walk beside them. It was an honour to help where I could. I bow down to their dedication and determination to get the job done. Tomorrow for some it will be business as usual, back on duty protecting the public. I will never forget today for as long as I live. Well done everyone, especially my band of brothers.
Credit to Mick Crennell , our Chief Fire Officer, who also walked the last day with the boys. Your company today made a difference, it lifted their spirits & kept them going.
Mark Watson,Rich Wheeler, Anthony Aberdeen, Matt Constance, Lee Francis and Dave Parry. Last but by no means least Saint Michael, who was the brains and inspiration.
Ian Beachgood and his wife Jacqui, kudos to you both for the long hours, hot food and teas set up at every refuge. Amazing what you can do with 2 camping stoves and a generator.
Children in Need is a charity that motivates people to help wherever they can and Firefighters are no different.
In this challenge 50-100 frontline firefighters and Headquarter staff will come together and undertake to complete the 104 mile route of the Cotswold Way in three formats, by running, cycling and walking. The Cotswold Way starts from Chipping Camden and ends at Bath Abbey. The total distance will be 300 miles in 80 hours. There will be one team for each discipline, all of which will set out from Chipping Camden at 8 am on Wed 15th November 2017.
The running team will run the 104 miles in relay, with the route split into 10 legs. For the cycling team, there are restrictions to cyclists on the route and therefore a road cycle route will be organised for a similar distance, with some completing the whole distance and others, not so ambitious undertaking a shorter distance.
As for the walking contingent, I'll be joining in this one. For those, who haven't experienced the effects of no sleep over 2 days, this is an eye opener. The intention of some walkers will be to walk the whole route with no sleep, with the option of some to tackle a shorter distance. The shorter day and the more overgrown route in November will make the completion time of 54 hours a serious challenge. Memories of this challenge many years ago are still with me and that was during the summer!
Once on the streets of Bath on afternoon of Friday 17th November, firefighters will join the walking party and will walk through streets of Bath carrying a fire brigade ladder and fundraising along the route.
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