News release text
Tunbridge Wells firefighters are celebrating receiving a national award in helping to improve fitness and raising funds for worthy causes within the community.
White Watch were awarded the prestigious FireFit silver trophy by the Fire Service Sports and Athletics Association (FSSAA). Launched prior to the Olympics, the unique challenge was judged by the impact of the project on the health of those involved, what was done in the community to encourage improvement in health and fitness, and how involvement has been used to raise money for community causes.
The watch were recognised for a number of reasons including raising over £8,000 for charity. This included taking part in the Brighton Marathon, with two members of the team completing the distance in full firefighting kit. This was followed by a 24 hour treadmill challenge, where, once again, the crew wore heavy equipment and covered around 240 miles between them.
One of the charities which benefited from this was Bowles, a centre which helps young people’s development through adventurous activity. Funds raised by the watch helped the charity purchase bushcraft equipment and subsidise courses for disadvantaged young people.
The watch also held two ‘firefighter for the day’ experiences at the station. This involved taking part in pump drills, a breathing apparatus exercise, a mock road traffic collision drill and a circuit training session.
Tunbridge Watch Manger, Iain Gross, said: “The young people who attended the station seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves, though for one young man in particular, it really was a life-changing experience. He now would like to join the fire service and is working hard to achieve this goal. We regularly see him out running and his friends have told us he is a completely different person since the event. Giving this young man the drive and focus to succeed in life is the biggest success of our challenge to improve fitness in our local community to date."
The award was presented at a special ceremony on 12 June by Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) Chief Executive Ann Millington and the FSSAA former chairman, Andy Fry, who is also Chief Fire Officer for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service.
KFRS Chief Executive Ann Millington said: “I am extremely proud of the watch not only for receiving the award but also for their work in raising funds for charities along the way. I believe we can continue to find innovative and exciting ways to help our local communities, which can only encourage more people to consider a healthier lifestyle.”