Two South Yorkshire firefighters are amongst a 20 strong team bidding to cycle the length of the UK to raise mental health awareness and thousands for charity.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Mark Peart and Paul Simmonite are joining firefighting colleagues from Suffolk for the 10 day, 1,000 mile ride from Lands End to John O’Groats in September.
The team are aiming to raise £50,000 for The Fire Fighters Charity, which supports the mental, physical and social needs of all serving and retired members of the UK’s fire family.
Paul has been a firefighter for 29 years and is currently based at Aston Park fire station. He said: “I’ve worked at stations across South Yorkshire and seen things that most people will thankfully never see, but due to the nature of the family feel of the fire and rescue service there has always been support available to me.
“I know The Fire Fighters Charity provides lots of mental health support though, so raising for them was something I really wanted to do.
“After meeting up and spending a day cycling with the group from Suffolk, I was honoured and privileged when they contacted me and asked me to join the team on this epic adventure. It’s been on my bucket list for years to ride the length of the UK, so I jumped at the chance.
“To be able to challenge myself with the mental and physical aspects of this adventure and knowing others will benefit from the team’s efforts is really inspiring.”
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Deputy Chief Fire Officer Chris Kirby, said: “Mark and Paul have the support of the whole fire service behind them. Not only are they raising money for a charity which does so much for serving and retired fire service staff and their families, they are also raising much needed awareness of the mental health issues which many emergency service workers face.
“I’ll be joining the team for part of the ride- but the scale of the full challenge is absolutely enormous and I’d encourage people to dig deep and donate to help inspire them to complete this incredible feat.”
The team begin their mammoth ride on Monday 20 September, stopping at eight fire stations across the UK along the way.
To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/team/longestride