Considering how much the history of the fire service means to Kayleigh McInnes’ family, it made sense that she decided to incorporate Scottish Fire and Rescue’s rich history into her own Fire Family Challenge.
On Monday 27 July, she completed a 14-mile walk in full fire kit around Glasgow, visiting all the memorial plaques that commemorated historic fires around the city. And she did so joined by her dad, Eddie, a former firefighter with 32 years service under his belt.
Kayleigh joined the service as a firefighter in March this year. She follows in the footsteps of both Eddie and her Grandpa, both of whom were also firefighters in Glasgow.
“With both of them working in the service, I’d always wanted to be a firefighter,” says Kayleigh. “I’ve been applying for years and then this March, I got in. Normally groups that go through the training centre try and do something collectively for the Charity, but because of Covid, we never got a chance. So I said to my dad I was keen to do something and he said he’d join me.”
This summer marked the sixtieth anniversary of Glasgow’s Cheapside Street fire, one of Britain’s worst peacetime fires where 14 fire service personnel were killed, as well as five members of the salvage corps. Kayleigh’s grandfather was one of the 450 firefighters who attended the incident.
“We decided to do our walk on the anniversary of the fire and visit all the other plaques for our route,” she says. “It was really interesting, especially because my dad knows so much about the history of so many of the fires, attending many of them himself. Most people just walk past these plaques and don’t give them a second glance, but actually, hearing about them from my Dad made me realise just how important they were and how intense they must have been to attend.”
For Kayleigh, who was unable to have a passing out ceremony because of the pandemic, the walk also gave her a way to commemorate her joining the service with her dad: “Throughout my life, Dad has been there for everything I’ve been through, so this was a nice way for us to celebrate and do something we’d always remember.”
While they walked, they also discussed the good their money would do to help other members of the fire service community, and Eddie shared his own experience of being supported by the Charity.
“Both my dad and Grandpa have spent time at Jubilee House down in Penrith,” says Kayleigh. “I’ve been down once to drop Grandpa off and I could see what an amazing place it is. I also know how much the Charity has helped them over the years with various things.”
Kayleigh managed to raise £500 in sponsorship, all of which will go directly towards supporting the mental, physical and social wellbeing of the UK’s fire services community.
“It’s so important we all support the Charity, and I’ve started as I mean to go on in terms of my fundraising. The fire service has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember; my husband is also a firefighter and we have a wee boy, so I know the Charity is going to benefit me and my family for the rest of my life. How many other professions can say they have such incredible support?”
Could you become our next fundraising hero?
We can’t do what we do without incredible people like Kayleigh, who, like many amazing others, has taken part in our Fire Family Challenge this year. Our fundraising has been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, but with your support we can continue to be there for people in need in the UK fire family.
You can find out more information about ways to support us here, whether that is by taking on your own fundraising challenge, becoming a regular donor or, if you can’t afford to support us at the moment, considering leaving us a gift in your will.