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Highland firefighters take on 24 hour endurance challenge to raise £2,500

Watch Commander of Aviemore Fire Station  Laura McHardy organised the challenge alongside Aviemore firefighters Julian Orsi and Annie Kirkwood.
Watch Commander of Aviemore Fire Station Laura McHardy organised the challenge alongside Aviemore firefighters Julian Orsi and Annie Kirkwood.

Firefighters in the north are preparing to take on a 24 hour endurance challenge to help support disadvantaged families over the festive period.

Crews from community fire station across Badenoch and Strathspey will gear up in their fire kit today to walk, cycle and run the equivalent distance of John O’Groats to Land’s end.

Personnel from fire stations in Aviemore, Kingussie Grantown and Newtonmore will set off from Aviemore at 6pm in a bid to raise more than £2000 for charitable causes across the region.

District support watch commander Laura McHardy and firefighters Julian Orsi and Annie Kirkwood – all based at Aviemore – masterminded the fundraising initiative.

“We really 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,” Mrs McHardy said.

“The driving force behind the fundraiser is the opportunity to support local families in poverty over the Christmas period and beyond, who have undoubtedly suffered during the pandemic.”

Commander Alison Robertson and Grantown fire crew will join firefighters from Baednoch and Strathspey in walking, cycling or running to raise £2500 for charity.

Crew commanders Peter Thomson and David Olds from Kingussie have pledged their support for the cause alongside Aviemore firefighter John Allan and watch commanders Colin Stewart from Newtonmore and Alison Robertson from Grantown.

Station commander Roddy Chapman and Group commander Ross Nixon will also form part of the core team.

Meanwhile, firefighter Kyle McRobert will rack up the miles for the team remotely at RAF Boulmer.

All proceeds raised will benefit a mixture of good causes within Badenoch and Strathspey communities including helping children and families in poverty have a better Christmas and supporting initiatives promoting better mental health and wellbeing.

Money will also be donated to help local food banks and community hardship funds.

Fellow organiser firefighter Annie Kirkwood added: “For me being part of the retained fire service is all about serving and giving back to the community.

“This year has without doubt brought unprecedented challenges not only economically but in terms of social isolation and loneliness, issues which really stand out in the winter months.

“Therefore, we wanted to bring our local fire stations together to raise some much-needed money to help support children and families in poverty, whilst also raising funds and awareness to help create better resources for those struggling with mental health and wellbeing issues.”

A JustGiving page has been established by the team ahead of the feat where more than £1600 has so far been raised.

The team were forced to raise their target by £1000 after successfully securing their initial figure of £1500.

Mrs McHardy thanked the public for their generosity.

“We are delighted by the generosity of the public in terms of the fundraiser and in their support of frontline workers throughout the pandemic,” she added.

“We honestly can’t thank you enough.”

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