Badenoch and Strathspey firefighters complete 24-hour relay challenge for charity

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Firefighters from Badenoch and Strathspey have completed a 24-hour relay challenge to raise money to help families in their local communities.

They have raised over £7,000 ​which was handed over to Voluntary Action in Badenoch and Strathspey's (VABS) ​Chief Officer Karen Derrick to distribute to a variety of causes across the area. A team of 22 set their target distance of John O’Groats to Land’s End by either walking, running or cycling while wearing their fire kit.

Within the allocated 24 hours they reached their goal and kept going. Their ‘final destination’ was Milan, Italy - an approximate distance of 1,500 miles - achieved by continuously travelling up and down the Main Street of Aviemore.

The money raised helped families in the local area by buying Christmas presents for children and boosting community hardship funds. The funds will also support initiatives ​to promote mental health and wellbeing locally.

Crews got together from fire stations all across the area which included Aviemore, Kingussie, Newtonmore and Grantown. While 22 people took part, this team was also supported by colleagues who remained on call to ensure cover was maintained for the duration of the challenge.

Many local businesses and people in the area got behind the challenge. They provided food and refreshments for the team and many dropped off presents and gifts to the station. The team also got a visit from the Cairngorm Reindeers and Santa.

Badenoch and Strathspey Retained and Volunteer Support Watch Commander Laura McHardy and firefighters Julian Orsi and Annie Kirkwood, all based at Aviemore Community Fire Station, organised the event. In total, nine people from Aviemore took part.

They were joined by Crew Commanders Peter Thomson and David Olds from Kingussie Community Fire Station. A team of four from Newtonmore Community Fire Station included Watch Commander Colin Stewart and a crew of five from Grantown Community Fire Station included Watch Commander Alison Robertson. Station Commander Roddy Chapman and Group Commander Ross Nixon also took part.

Retained firefighter Kyle McRobert, based in Aviemore, is also a Corporal with the RAF Police Reserves. He completed over seven miles remotely at RAF Boulmer, Northumberland.

Watch Commander Laura McHardy said: "We wanted to end what has been a challenging year for all in a positive way where we could come together and give back to those in need locally. The driving force behind the fundraiser was to support local families over the Christmas period and beyond, who have undoubtedly suffered during the pandemic.

“The fundraiser highlighted the commitment from Badenoch & Strathspey firefighters to help our communities and build on our teamwork values. It wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions of each member of the Badenoch and Strathspey Community Fire Stations, whether on the road cycling or maintaining crucial fire cover.

Firefighter Annie Kirkwood said: “Being part of the retained fire service is all about serving and giving back to the community. This year has brought unprecedented challenges not only economically but in terms of social isolation and loneliness, issues which really stand out in the winter months."

Watch Commander Alison Robertson said: “This demonstrates the teamwork from all firefighters within the Badenoch & Strathspey area where we join together to support our communities at times of need, not just through operational response but by supporting local people in whatever way we can.” 


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