Shropshire’s new Chief Fire Officer has visited each of the county’s 23 fire stations…on his bike.
It was not the usual approach for a new boss to meet staff working in the far flung corners of the county or another cost cutting exercise.
The pedal powered tour involved fire chief Rod Hammerton and a 20 strong team taking to two wheels to cycle 239 miles through Shropshire’s beautiful countryside over three days.
He said he was “proud” to have completed the marathon ride with firefighting colleagues, support staff, friends and family to raise much needed funds for The Severn Hospice and the Fire Fighters’ Charity.
At the end of the gruelling ride and safely back at Shrewsbury fire HQ, he said: “It was a fantastic tour of Shropshire that reminded us of all the reasons why this is such a great place to live and work.
“The views were spectacular particularly from Clee Hill and we got so many warm welcomes. The cheers of children's voices as you pass really lifts you whether you are just starting the day or passing the 70 mile mark with nearly 25 to go.”
Rod thanked the organising committee and volunteers who gave up their time to support the marathon charity effort.
“It was a great three days that will stay in my memory a lot longer than the saddle sores and we were proud to do it for the firefighters charity and The Severn Hospice - two really important charities.”
Also completing the ride was the youngest cyclist, firefighter's daughter Kate Lafferty. Profoundly deaf, Kate (17) wears a Cochlear implant so she can hear and completed the ride to raise money for the Shropshire Deaf Children's Society. Her Just Giving page is available via facebook.
One of the organiser’s Katy Lowe, who works in fire control, came up with the idea to involve all the county’s fire stations spread across Shropshire.
“It was a real challenge. They had to push themselves to get around all the stations in hilly Shropshire,” said Katy, who appealed for help from the public to donate to the charities.
The tour de Shropshire started on September 22 at Shrewsbury fire HQ as 20 cyclists headed for Ludlow fire station for an overnight stop pedalling 67 miles via fire stations in Church Stretton, Much Wenlock, Bridgnorth, and Cleobury Mortimer.
Primary schoolchildren from Condover, Minsterley and Baschurch lined the route outside their schools to cheer and wave the cyclists as they passed by.
Day two was a gruelling 97 miles to Whitchurch fire station via Craven Arms, Clun, Bishops Castle, Minsterley, Baschurch, Oswestry, Ellesmere, Wem and Prees.
The final day saw bikers cycle through Market Drayton, Hodnet, Newport, Albrighton, Tweedale, Telford and Wellington finally arriving back at Shrewsbury fire station – 239 miles later..to be greeted to a champagne reception from families and friends.
Donations can be made on the internet http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Mainpage
or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about supporting the cyclists at a local fire station.