Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service

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Firefighters set to walk 100 miles to raise mental health awareness

Firefighters set to walk 100 miles to raise mental health awareness


Thursday, 20 September 2018

Firefighters from Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) will be completing a 100 mile walk from Liverpool to Penrith in a bid to raise vital funds for the Fire Fighters Charity (FFC), whilst raising awareness of mental health within the Fire & Rescue community.

Victoria Grice, Matthew Range, Matthew Hornby and Mark Buchanan – firefighters at Aintree Community Fire Station – will take on the challenge between Friday 21st and Monday 24th September.

The fundraiser will see them set off from Aintree Fire Station at 8.30am on Friday, where they will be joined by MFRS Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan and Alan Knell, Regional Fundraising Lead for the FFC, for the first leg of the walk.

The group plan to spend eight hours each day walking and plan to reach Preston Fire Station on the first leg on Friday. They will finish at the FFC’s Centre in Penrith.

Firefighter Mark Buchanan said: “Raising awareness of mental health is something that has always been a passion of mine. A lot of work goes into raising awareness of mental health within the fire service and it’s important to keep that conversation going with events like this.

“Firefighters do a very difficult job and are normally the very last to ask for help. The Fire Fighters Charity offers support for these individuals and it is our hope that we can raise as much as possible to help our friends and colleagues get the help that they need.”

The Fire Fighters Charity support programmes include rehabilitation, recuperation, psychological and nursing across three centres. It costs more than £8million a year to meet the needs of its beneficiaries and with no regular government funding, it is reliant on donations and fundraising efforts.

Mark added: “Often when firefighters attend a difficult incident, the impact of what they have witnessed and had to deal with doesn’t hit them until later when they may be at home with their family or friends. But Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is a very open environment and whenever something happens, we all sit down as a crew and discuss it. Diffusing sessions allow us to open up after particularly difficult jobs and the service works closely with MIND, with many stations having a Blue Light Champion available for people to speak to should they need to.”

The fundraising walk marks the 75th anniversary of the Fire Fighters Charity and also the 100 year anniversary of the Fire Brigades Union.

If anyone would like to join the team on any part of their walk for encouragement, they would love to see you there.

To donate and show your support, visit https://www.justgiving.com/100MileWalkFireFightersMentalHealth

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