South Downs Way warm up for Three Peaks challengers

Firefighters from Haywards Heath Fire Station are preparing to cycle the length of the South Downs Way later this month in memory of their much-loved former Crew Commander.

They will be taking on the 100 mile route from Winchester to Eastbourne over two days, beginning on Friday 21 August.

The team of fundraisers are raising money for The Fire Fighters Charity in memory of Mark Butler, their former Crew Commander who lost his battle with leukaemia last spring.

After receiving his diagnosis, firefighters at the station embarked upon a number of fundraising ventures to show their support for Mark, including going Bald4Butler and shaving their heads in a mark of solidarity. Last Christmas they pushed a miniature fire engine around Haywards Heath dressed as festive elves to raise money in his memory.

Mark’s son Adam Butler, a retained firefighter at Haywards Heath Fire Station, is among the team taking on the challenge. He said: “After such a successful year last year raising money in memory of Mark we had high hopes for this year. But then COVID-19 struck, and all our plans were put on hold.

“As things are starting to ease a bit more now, we are keen to get out there and start drumming up support for The Fire Fighters Charity which needs our help now more than ever.

“Obviously we have to be responsible and put our safety and that of our residents first. But with restrictions easing, being out in the countryside on the South Downs we will be able to socially distance.”

Keen to make up for lost time, the crew are also preparing to take on a much bigger challenge just a month later, with a number of the crew taking on The Three Peaks Challenge between September 28 and 30. This will see them scale the three highest peaks on British mainland – Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England and Snowdon in Wales all while wearing full fire kit and breathing apparatus.

Adam added: “This challenge isn’t for the faint of heart, but what’s the point of a fundraising challenge if you don’t challenge yourself? We have all been training hard during lockdown to keep our fitness levels up, and so we are raring to get going now.

“The Fire Fighters Charity carries out such important work to both serving and former firefighters, it is vital that their work is able to continue.”

To support their fundraising efforts visit:

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