Firefighters pull their weight for HIV charity

Come and support our charity fire engine pull - says Hampshire Fire & Rescue Emsworth Watch Manager Perry Dodgson ((48) as he heads the tow rope  ''(left to right) from The Hayling United Juniors FC, Harvey Dodgson (11), Oliver Langdown (10), Tadeus Harrison (11), and Sam Latawski (11) with retained Emsworth Firefighter Peter Bolton (37) and (foreground) Hampshire Fire & Rescue Emsworth Watch Manager Perry Dodgson ((48)''Picture: Malcolm Wells (131025-9071)
Come and support our charity fire engine pull - says Hampshire Fire & Rescue Emsworth Watch Manager Perry Dodgson ((48) as he heads the tow rope ''(left to right) from The Hayling United Juniors FC, Harvey Dodgson (11), Oliver Langdown (10), Tadeus Harrison (11), and Sam Latawski (11) with retained Emsworth Firefighter Peter Bolton (37) and (foreground) Hampshire Fire & Rescue Emsworth Watch Manager Perry Dodgson ((48)''Picture: Malcolm Wells (131025-9071)

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IT’S a challenge that wouldn’t look out of place in a strongman competition.

But instead of hulking athletes, children will join local firefighters to pull a 10-tonne fire engine.

Gutsy firefighters from Emsworth and Hayling Island will tow the truck along Hayling seafront for charity.

The firemen will be helped by young people from Hayling United Football Club, Portsmouth College and South Downs College.

Organiser Perry Dodgson, who is the crew manager at Emsworth Fire Station, said: ‘The money raised will go to two very important charities – The Firefighters’ charity and Love Light Romania.’

The route will see up to a team of up to 30 people pulling the vehicle from Hayling funfair to the Inn on the Beach and back again.

The superhuman task may seem like a big challenge, but firefighter Perry is remaining positive.

He said: ‘It’ll be hard work but as long as there’s not too much headwind along the seafront then I’m sure we can do it.’

Love Light Romania is a small charity that has built a sanctuary near Transylvania in 2003.

Since then it has been in a constant battle against the HIV epidemic – which has swept across Romanian orphanages and infected thousands of innocent children. Love Light Romania provides essential care for children suffering from HIV or Aids as well as support for the families affected.

Talking about the involvement of the local young people, Perry said: ‘It’s an ideal opportunity to identify the football clubs and students as role models for other children and also for those watching.’

He added: ‘By doing the engine pull we’re really hoping to raise awareness of the charities.

‘It will be a great day and I hope everyone turns out to support us.’

Experienced fundraiser Perry has previously organised and taken part in a sponsored walk in Transylvannia and a 1,480-mile bike ride.

Donations from both events were given to Love Light Romania.

The engine pull will take place at Hayling funfair from 10am on Saturday, April 27.