Fire and rescue service colleagues have once again teamed up to take on a walking fundraiser in memory of their friend and colleague, Stu Crebbin.

Stu passed away in 2021 at the age of 46, after a 12-month battle with cancer. He was a dedicated supporter of our charity throughout his career, and even took on the first of the Phoenix Challenges in 2020 while going through chemotherapy and immunotherapy sessions in the lead-up to it.

That first challenge involved climbing the 10 main peaks within the Brecon Beacons National park – around 42 miles of mountain terrain with 3,100 metres of ascent – and many of his Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service colleagues joined him.

2023 fundraiser in memory of Stu

Since then, the group have teamed up every year to plan a new fundraiser in his memory and this year’s saw them – as well as family and friends – complete the Horseshoe Ridge Walk in the Brecon Beacons, which raised £1,000 for us.

This took their total since the first walk to over £25,000.

Stu’s close friend and organiser of the annual event, Spencer Jones, says: “Despite Stu being diagnosed with colon-cancer in April 2020, having to undertake intense chemotherapy and immunotherapy sessions in the lead-up to the challenge, even these setbacks didn’t stop Stu from completing the majority of the challenge. Stu was keen to share not only his battle with cancer but also his battle with PTSD, walking and the Phoenix Challenge were a purpose that enabled Stu to escape. Key to this was not only the event but the majority of training was carried out as a team.

2021 walk in memory of Stu

“The spirit and zest for life Stu demonstrated in the latter months and weeks of his life, especially his dedication to the Fire Fighters Charity, is something that Stu himself would like to see live on. So, with this in mind, the team are determined to maintain the Phoenix Challenge momentum.”

Stu’s family added ahead of the 2024 event: “Stu was dedicated to raising money for the Fire Fighters Charity and specifically asked for donations to be made to this charity on his behalf so we know he would fully support and love this event, we would like to express how honoured we are at this event being undertaken in memory of Stu, he thoroughly enjoyed this challenge himself in August 2020 and we are certain he will be with you all that take on this 2024 challenge, so go and make him proud and keep the momentum going!”

Spencer now plans to continue organising a different event every year in memory of Stu.

“The outpouring following Stu’s death from fire and rescue services and colleagues across the country was overwhelming and showed what a popular and inspirational individual he was – far beyond just the fire service he worked for,” Spencer previously said. “He made his mark, genuinely cared for people and stood up for what he believed.”

Stu’s sister Sam has been involved in the challenges over the years too and said after the 2021 walk that seeing so many of her brother’s colleagues turn out in his memory was hugely moving.

“It was amazing, I really enjoyed it – I didn’t think I’d be able to do it, and it was hard, but it was really, really good,” she said. “The weather was horrific… I don’t even think it was bad luck, I think our Stu thought, ‘there you go’!

“I spoke to every one of his colleagues that did it and they were all lovely and all had a story to tell about him. They didn’t know me and all know each other, so I thought it would be overwhelming but it wasn’t, it was really lovely.

“Myself and my mam had a conversation with our Stu a few weeks before he died and he said he didn’t want any flowers, he didn’t want anything – if anyone wanted to buy anything or do anything, the money had to go to the Fire Fighters Charity. He was really fond of it.

“Then all the money he’d raised the year before he said he wanted continued, so that’s why Spencer’s organising all this. It was really important to Stu for that to be continued.

“We’ve thought about the fact that the charity’s there for spouses and dependants since too. We don’t need the charity ourselves, but there are people out there that need it. Myself and my mam moved down to Worcester to care for Stu in his last few months, and we could afford to do that – but some people can’t. It’s not just about cancer, he was a firefighter and he has that service available and so do dependants. It’s things like that you think, you do want to help the charity so other people can benefit from it.”

To donate to the group’s latest fundraiser, click here.