Firefighters take on epic run and rowing challenge

RACKING UP MILES Phil Jackson, left, and Stuart Vince, right with Michael Paxman Picture: Jake Ratcliffe (120179-020)
RACKING UP MILES Phil Jackson, left, and Stuart Vince, right with Michael Paxman Picture: Jake Ratcliffe (120179-020)

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SO FAR they’ve pounded the streets around Portsdown Hill, battled against 80mph winds and run along the seafront.

Now two firefighters are ready to put their training to good use in a huge physical challenge to encourage more people to become organ donors.

Crew manager Stuart Vince, who is working as a watch manager in Eastleigh and firefighter Philip Jackson of Cosham blue watch, will be running from Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital to Land’s End.

The marathon challenge, due to start on May 20, has been inspired by Stuart, 35.

Last June he donated one of his kidneys to family friend Michael Paxman.

Michael will be running the first stretch between Portsmouth and Southampton with the firefighters.

Stuart and Philip will then carry on running around 26 miles a day until they reach Land’s End.

After that, they will spend six days rowing from Penzance back to Gunwharf Quays.

And they have also set themselves a target of raising £20,000, which will be split between QA and Southampton General Hospital.

Stuart said: ‘The training has been tough so far, but we’re still determined to carry on.

‘We want to do as much as we can to publicise being a part of the donor register.’

Michael, 19, of Soberton, started developing problems in his kidney when he was five years old.

He had to wait two years before he could go on the donor list, and when he did he found out no family members were a match.

This prompted Stuart to get tested, which showed he was compatible.

Michael said: ‘The transplant has given me a new lease of life and has completely changed things for me.

‘We don’t want to force people to sign up to the register, but it does make a difference.

‘And it only takes two minutes to register online.’

For more information, or to donate money to the firefighters’ cause, visit thebigdonorchallenge.co.uk.

THE CHALLENGE

· Day one: Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth to Southampton General Hospital, Southampton. Then on to Lyndhurst fire station, Lyndhurst.

· Day two: Lyndhurst fire station to Poole fire station, Dorset

· Day three: Poole fire station to Weymouth fire station, Dorset

· Day four: Weymouth fire station, to Lyme Regis fire station, Dorset.

· Day five: Lyme Regis fire station to Exeter Middlemoor fire station, Devon.

· Day six: Exeter Middlemoor fire station to Two Bridges Yelverton, Dartmoor, Devon.

· Day seven: Two Bridges Yelverton to Liskeard community fire station, Cornwall.

· Day eight: Liskeard community fire station, to St Austell community fire station, Cornwall.

· Day nine: St Austell community fire station via St Mawes to Falmouth community fire station, Cornwall.

· Day 10: Falmouth community fire station to Penzance community fire station, Cornwall.

· Day 11: Penzance community fire station to Lands’ End, Cornwall.

Then the pair will row back from Penzance to Gunwharf Quays to complete their journey.