A team of firefighters is taking on a static bike fundraiser in memory of their close friend and colleague, while raising funds for us.
Firefighter Andy Watt passed away on 28 July, 2022, and has been described by his friends – who he worked at Loughborough Fire Station with – as “one of the kindest souls you could ever meet”.
As a tribute to him, his former colleagues Stu McCarthy, Ainsley Burton, Steven Giles, Jason Moon, Anna Young and Steve Butterworth will be cycling the total of 181 miles in full fire kit on two Wattbikes in Loughborough town centre on Thursday, 21 September.
They’ll be supported on the day by another friend, Stu Harrison, and hope to complete the ride in under five hours.
“Andy and I were on the same recruits course and we ended up joining the same Watch, so we actually worked together for around 16 years,” says Crew Manager Stu, who’s taking part and was close friends with Andy – known to his friends as Watty.
“Our old Watch Manager summed it up best in his eulogy at the funeral. He used to say, if he could have cloned Watty and had nine of him on the Watch, there would never have been any issues whatsoever. He was an absolute pleasure to manage and was the perfect firefighter – fit, dedicated, disciplined, knowledgeable.”
Stu has also seen what a difference funds from events like this can make, having received our support himself in the past.
He adds: “I’ve benefitted from the Charity’s support myself three times. I was actually booked in to visit Marine Court the Sunday after Andy died, for some torn ligaments in my ankle.
“We lost him on the Thursday, so those days immediately afterwards were hell. I was debating whether to still go down, but I knew getting away from everything would only be beneficial.
“By the time I’d got down there, somebody – and I still don’t know who – had rung ahead and explained what had happened. It meant I had a lot of mental health support while I was there too. I ended up almost being there more for emotional support which was really helpful at that time.
“I then had a course of several sessions with a Psychological Therapist over Zoom following that, which I found very good.”
The team share some of their memories with Andy on their fundraising page too:
“When you think of Loughborough Station you think of certain characters, Andy was certainly one of them, he was part of the furniture and he is sorely missed by his work family.
“His passing came as a massive shock to everyone who knew him and has left a giant hole in many people’s lives, from immediate family to work colleagues and friends alike.
“We all miss him dearly and in true Fire Service tradition, everyone comes together in a time of need. Please join us in raising £1,810 in memory of our dear father, son, friend, and colleague.”
The team chose the number 181 as it was Andy’s service number.
To support their fundraiser, click the button here: