Determined Mathew clocking up the miles to help pay back the firefighters who helped save his life
21 September 2021
SFRS Heritage Trust volunteer Mathew Rooney is taking part in StepTembear.
An SFRS volunteer has told how surviving a house fire inspired him to walk 200 miles in aid of firefighters and their families.
Mathew Rooney, now 37, was rescued by firefighters when he was eight years old.
His family home had become involved in a fire which began in the property below. The experience and the bravery of the firefighters who rescued him and his family had a lasting impact on Mathew. Ever since, he has dreamed of becoming a firefighter and has spent recent years volunteering with the SFRS Heritage Trust. Recently, Mathew has also been tackling a 200 mile walk in aid of the SFRS's Family Support Trust StepTembear challenge. The charity exists to provide support to firefighters and their families - including financial assistance and respite accommodation.
Inspired to help the FST, Mathew threw himself into his challenge by walking from Edinburgh's McDonald Road Fire Station to Glasgow's Govan Fire Station.
He has also completed a trek from Govan to Balloch.
Explaining his passion for the fire service, Mathew revealed: "I have massive respect for everyone involved with the Service - and not just the firefighters, everyone who works in the background as well.
"Becoming a firefighter is my dream job - and hopefully one day I'll get to do that. But just now my work with the Heritage Trust involves restoring vintage fire vehicles, sharing safety advice with the community, and preserving the history of the Service."
While many have been full of admiration of his efforts, for Mathew, it is the charity workers themselves who deserve all the credit. He said: "The charity does amazing work...to me, I'm just walking. But if I can raise some money while I am doing it, then excellent. "I spend most of my days at work on my feet, but I did find myself in tears when I got close to Govan Fire Station after walking from McDonald Road. I thought: 'I've done it'. "Govan Fire Station is very special to me because it was crews from that station who rescued me from the fire." Mathew continued: "I've still got 63 miles to go, but I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. "We need to be as generous as we can because charities like the FST need our support - especially given the last year." For more on Mathew's efforts and to donate visit his enthuse page.