Flame Visits the Hainsworth Mill
Fundraiser for the Fire Fighters Charity, The Flame, visited us recently for a look around our mill and to see how the fabric was made for the kit that he is wearing for his challenges. While he was here we asked him a few questions about the work he has done so far and what he has planned for the future…
Q: So Flame, how did you get involved in the Fire Fighters Charity? Are you a fire fighter yourself?
A: No I am not actually a fire fighter but I am a supporter of The Fire Fighters Charity. I have the utmost respect for the work and commitment every single member of the UK Fire & Rescue Service undertake on a daily basis – across all areas of the service from support staff to fire fighters out there fighting fires and saving lives. I really wanted to undertake a challenge that would help me to understand even a fraction of what it feels like to put your body to the test wearing the full fire kit.
Q: Can you tell us about some of the work the charity does and why it is so important to fire fighters?
A: The Fire Fighters Charity provides support through rehabilitation to serving and retired fire fighters, fire personnel and their families. This can be in the home or at one of their three dedicated centres in Devon, Cumbria and West Sussex which offer a 7 day a week service as well as a confidential helpline. The charity has recently started to help those who don’t have a primary physical condition but need psychological support.
Their vision is to make a positive difference by supporting people in the fire and rescue community when they are in need. Over the years, they have helped hundreds of thousands of individuals by providing world-class treatment and support services.
So far I have raised over £2,700 and I understand it costs £1,200 to put a member of the Fire & Rescue Services through 1 week of rehabilitation at one of their dedicated centres. My aim is to continue with my challenges and events to keep growing the money I raise and hopefully reach my target of £10,000!
Q: How did you come up with the idea for ‘The Flame’?
A: Over the last 8-10 years I have run marathons, ultra-marathons and other different challenges, but I have spent nearly 2 years building the idea of ‘Flame’ before launching it in May last year.
My challenge as ‘Flame’ is totally aimed at raising money for The Fire Fighters Charity to help support beneficiaries from our UK Fire & Rescue Services and keeping my identity secret has added that additional interest and following, taking part in challenges in full kit to add that extra twist!
The idea of becoming the Flame was that my identity is not important….but raising money for The Fire Fighters Charity is!
Q: What type of challenges have you undertaken so far and which has been your toughest?
A: Well, I have climbed Ben Nevis (in 2 metres of snow midway up the mountain), Mount Snowdon with Team Snowdon – a fire fighter climbing in full kit and a courageous young lady who climbed the mountain on crutches!
All of this was very inspiring to me and helped me to push through the rest of the challenges.
I’ve run a few 10Km and 5km runs, a towerthon stair challenge up Spinnaker tower and most recently the Hell Runner (Down South), a 12 mile trail run on army and tank range at Longmoor Army Camp, Hampshire with hills, ice, and muddy puddles up to my neck!
The challenges are getting even tougher. The next 5 months will see Half marathons, (Silverstone & Southampton), Brighton Marathon, BUPA 10k London Run and the toughest being set for May where I will climb 24 Lake District Mountain peaks in 24 hours!
Q: How have you found the kit so far?
A: The fire kit I am wearing was kindly supplied by Bristol Uniforms, The BA set is from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and the helmet supplied by MSA.
I have found the kit unbelievably versatile more than anything! It has been through snow, minus 5-6 degrees, heat conditions over 30 degrees and ranges in between, but Hell Runner was its finest test from my challenges to date. I was submerged in a muddy bog up to my neck so you can imagine how dirty the kit was afterwards, but after washing, it looked as good as new!
Q: So, what’s next for The Flame?
A: I have a couple of half marathons (the Silverstone Half Marathon and the ABP Southampton Half Marathon), the Brighton Marathon, BUPA London 10km Run and my final challenge which will also be my toughest, 24 Mountain Peaks in 24 hours in the Lake District (including Scafell Pike)!
I would be very happy to consider another challenge that Hainsworth set me, maybe something that can test the strength and versatility of the uniform I have worn for all of my challenges!