AFTER six hours and 30,500 steps, firefighters from Horndean, Waterlooville, Havant and Cosham completed their biggest charity challenge yet, raising £8,500 along the way.
Leaving Horndean fire station on Blendworth Lane, at 10am on Saturday, 12 fire fighters began the 13-mile walk to Gunwharf, in full rescue kit while carrying a dummy causality on a stretcher.
Each man carried around 30kg on their backs, suffered from aching feet, fatigue and cramp, testing the willpower of everyone involved.
The money that has been raised will be split between the Fire Fighters Charity and Football for Cancer, who both had representatives taking part in the event.
Led by Waterlooville watch manager Craig Sadler, 42, everyone involved seemed to be full of enthusiasm as he repeated ‘We start together, we finish together,’ along the entire route.
Mr Sadler said: ‘We needed to keep rotating the people on the stretcher just to make sure we didn’t have anyone getting hurt.
‘Everyone finished and they all had smiles on their faces which is fantastic from my point of view.’
The fire service had already raised £2,000 before they had walked a single mile with Barclays Bank in Havant agreeing to price-match every £1,000 pounds raised.
An extra £2,500 was collected on the route, meaning the bank donated £4,000, giving both charities just over £4,200 each.
Mr Sadler added: ‘People have always come out to support us, but to get people coming out of shops and pulling over on the side of the road is so unexpected.
‘We’ve had support from Barclays, Tesco, Asda and numerous other businesses, we’ve also had brethren from Plymouth come along – it has been a little overwhelming.
There was great appreciation shown by crowds on both Cosham High Street and in Gunwharf where the team were met with applause and cheers.
Kevin Sadler, who was representing Football for Cancer said: ‘It is great that different organisations in the community can support each other.
‘The fire service has always shown great support for us, so we wanted to help them on this unique challenge.’
After finally reaching Gunwharf, Mr Sadler added: ‘Let’s see what we can do next year.’