An inspirational group of more than 130 women from across more than 20 fire and rescue services have teamed up to climb Snowdon in aid of us, raising thousands of pounds in the process.
The group included representatives from as high as Scotland and right down to Isle of Wight, in partnership with Women in the Fire Service, and while some have received our support themselves, others have colleagues, friends and family who have done in the past.
One of those leading the challenge was Daisy Byron, who received our support at Marine Court, our centre in Littlehampton, in 2015 after complications that arose from having her two daughters led to her being unable to continue operational duties.
She received both physical and mental health support at the time and previously told us: “You go there thinking the world is against you, then you get there and meet other people all with their own issues and they make you think differently. The whole experience just helped me so much.”
We spoke to Daisy after she completed the challenge and she said: “The day was absolutely amazing, every single person got up to the top and it went so smoothly.
“It was honestly epic to have women from right across the UK – people who wouldn’t normally meet – all come together. The friendships and connections that have come out of this are going to be life-long.
“We’ve obviously all got something in common but it wasn’t just about women in the fire service, it was about the strength we’ve got between us on a whole in everyday life.”
Joining her was Diane Johnson, from Warwickshire FRS’ Control team, who took part in memory of their former Chief Fire Officer Kieran Amos – and as a thank you for the mental wellbeing support she’s received from us.
She said: “Most people will know me from Fire Control. I worked for West Sussex Fire & Rescue before transferring to Warwickshire, and I had the pleasure of working alongside Kieran Amos for many years. His tragic passing two years ago gave me a sudden realisation that I needed to do more things with my life: at 50, I needed to push myself more, and get out of my comfort zone.
“I climbed Snowdon in memory of Kieran Amos, and in aid of The Fire Fighters Charity, who have helped me twice over the last few years, most recently to support my mental health and wellbeing. It’s not only frontline firefighters that can be affected in the profession we are in. Control Room teams play a vital role dealing with traumatic and distressing situations on a daily basis.”
Representing our Charity on the day, and climbing alongside the group, was our Wellness and Behaviour Change Coach, Roger Saxby. He recalls of his experience: “I felt very fortunate to be asked to attend this fantastic event on behalf of the Charity and witness so many inspiring women from across the UK’s fire and rescue service undertake such a huge challenge.
“Whilst I was made to feel very welcome, there was a real sense of collective spirit within the group that was demonstrated through kindness and support… each individual ensured that everyone in their group was able to complete the climb, whatever their physical ability – whilst also having great fun.
“It was clearly very well planned and organised by Daisy and her colleagues and the enthusiastic welcome we received on our completion at the bottom was hugely appreciated. Everyone involved should feel incredibly proud of their achievement and involvement in this brilliant day.”
Catherine Paddon, Community Fire Engagement Officer with Suffolk FRS, joined the climb too and told us afterwards: “I don’t use the word inspiring very often, but it was exactly that.
“For me, it was great to see green book, grey book, control staff, people from across the British Isles and different walks of life within the fire service come together and achieve one goal. I loved it.
“I’ve been involved with fundraising for the Charity previously, as part of our women’s network. I’ve seen the impact of the Charity on people I work with within the service too, who have either picked up an injury or required support outside of that and have stayed at a centre. Being able to see the tangible effects of fundraising like this has been a massive motivator.”
Charlotte Smith, Community Fundraiser at The Fire Fighters Charity, says: “This was an incredible example of fire and rescue service representatives from right across the UK coming together for a common cause, and we’re so grateful to all the women who took part in this climb for choosing us to support.
“Funds raised from events like this go such a long way in helping us continue to support thousands of fire service personnel and their families every year with their physical and mental wellbeing. On behalf of everyone at The Fire Fighters Charity, a huge thank you to everyone involved.”
Representatives came from areas including Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cleveland, Derbyshire, Devon & Somerset, Dorset & Wiltshire, East Sussex, Essex, Hampshire & Isle of Wight, Hereford & Worcester, Hertfordshire, Humberside, Lancashire, London, Lincolnshire, North Wales, Oxfordshire, Scotland, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Tyne & Wear, Warwickshire, Beds Police and NFCC, as well as Women in the Fire Service.
The team’s fundraiser is still open. Click here to donate to them, and scroll down to see all the photos…