Why firefighter Storms Menri wore his work clothes to compete in the latest Southsea 5k parkrun
One of the 370 entrants for the most recent Southsea parkrun stood out more than anyone else.
And that’s because Storms Menri completed the 5km event dressed in full firefighting equipment!
The Cosham fireman has launched a fundraising drive to send redundant Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS) kit to Ghana.
Firefighters in the African country have very limited access to protective clothing and often attend jobs without vital equipment.
Menri, who used to serve in the British Army and is still a Reservist with the Princess of Wales’s Royal regiment, saw the plight of Ghanaian firefighters first-hand during a training exercise in the country.
As a result, he’s partnered with charity FIRE AID to get a shipping container full of old HIWFRS clothing delivered to Ghana.
Speaking to The News last month, Storms said: ‘I was out in Ghana with the Army in December and was doing some work with the fire service. The kit that they use is so basic and that is a very scary feeling.
‘I feel very proud of being a firefighter and we are very lucky here to have all the tools and training we need to make the job as safe as possible.
‘In Ghana, the fire service turns up for a job knowing what to do and wanting to help, but not having the kit to do it with.’
Ahead of the Parkrun, Menri was joined by Matt Green from Portico, the company providing free customs clearance and freight forwarding services to get the container to Ghana.
Green, a key account manager at Portico, said: ‘It was an honour to come down to Southsea Parkrun to support Storms and his fundraising efforts, which will mean that essential firefighting equipment can get to Ghana.
‘At the moment, many firefighters in the African country have to fight fires without basic protective equipment.
‘After seeing him tackle 5km in just 25 minutes whilst in his full firefighting kit, I’ve seen first-hand his determination to raise the funds needed.’
Menri, competing in the veterans 40-44 category, finished a highly creditable 104th overall in 25.13 in what was his 47th parkrun. Unsurprisingly, given his firefighting clothes he was wearing, it was his slowest time.
His personal best remains the 18.33 he clocked at both the Southsea and Portsmouth Lakeside courses.
To support Storms, go to justgiving.com/fundraising/storms-menrifireaidghana