FFC cyclingRoyal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Calcot HQ gym recently saw some of the swiftest firefighter action of all-time as dozens of members of the Service took on a 2,000km, 24-hour bikeathon to raise money for the Fire Fighters Charity.

Firefighters from RBFRS were joined in the 'Team 15 Challenge' by colleagues from Oxfordshire, as well as Service support staff, charity representatives and a Royal Berkshire Fire Authority councillor to ensure 2 bikes were kept running as funds were raised for the Make-A-Wish Foundation as well as TFFC.

As the ride developed into a challenge, the RBFRS team, led by Team 14 Challenge's Andy Grist, beat out their Oxon counterparts by 782.7km to 721.95km.

The ride was an unexpected 15th leg to Grist's incredible fundraising efforts of the past 12 months which saw him complete 14 arduous physical challenges in 2014 ending in December's 200-mile marathon from the Make-A-Wish Foundation head office in Camberley to The Fire Fighters Charity’s Harcombe House rehabilitation centre in Devon.

After completing this final ride, FF Grist said: "I was really touched when I heard the plans for Team 15 - it has lifted me through the year to hear people saying my story has been inspiring them to take on challenges themselves.

"The bikeathon has been the perfect way to end an extraordinary 12 months in my life. It’s been an incredible journey and I really feel this achievement will make a huge difference to two very deserving causes."

On top of the two teams efforts, around 30 supporting charity cyclists hopped on and off four neighbouring bikes in draining 30-minute slots across the event and pedalled a combined 603.01km.

To date, Andy’s 14 challenges have raised over £5,000. Proceeds from the Team 15 challenge are currently being counted and will be added to the overall total.

Commenting on the successes of both Team 14 and Team 15, RBFRS Chief Fire Officer Andy Fry said: “Andy has been such an inspiration during his 14 endurance challenges that we all wanted to be by his side for a fitting 15th.

“It brought me great pride to see the generous and energetic spirit of RBFRS unleashed for two deserving causes. It is an outstanding achievement to reach 2,000km in 24 hours and great to welcome Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service to the challenge.”