Suffolk and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service firefighters and staff are re-launching their challenge to cycle the length of the UK.
The 20-strong team is raising awareness of mental health and funds for The Fire Fighters Charity, by cycling the 1,000 miles between Land’s End and John O’Groats in September. The original ride was scheduled for September 2020, but was postponed due Covid-19 restrictions.
The team is re-launching the challenge on 4 May 2021, which is International Firefighters’ Day, by taking to social media to promote their fundraising pages and share excitement that the challenge is going ahead once more.
The event was the idea of Station Manager Darren Cooper: “We’re getting ready to ride again – we had trained incredibly hard for the challenge last year, but that wasn’t to be. However, in the last few weeks, we’ve been able to meet in small groups and go for practice rides around Suffolk, so we can’t wait.
“It now feels even more apt that we’re aiming to raise awareness of mental health. Training for a 1,000 mile bike ride has been made more challenging as we’ve not been able to ride outdoors, or train with each other, due to Covid-19 restrictions. We’ve all had to train alone, on special equipment in our garages, sheds and spare rooms.
“This is a journey we are making to raise awareness and remove the stigma surrounding mental health. As firefighters and support staff, we face our own mental health challenges through the nature of the work we do. If we can help, or just reach, one person with our message, we’ll have succeeded.”
Dr Jill Tolfrey, Chief Executive at The Fire Fighters Charity, said: “We are delighted to offer our full support to the Fire and Rescue Service team as it sets off on The Longest Ride 2021. Every penny raised by the team will allow us to fund life enhancing mental health support – at our centres and through our outdoor spaces – for members of the fire services community in need today.
“On behalf of everyone at the Charity, as well as our beneficiaries, we wish you the very best of luck for a safe, successful – and dry – ride!”
The team welcomes donations for the fundraising effort, details can be found at www.thelongestride.co.uk and follow them on Twitter and Facebook @longestride2021 for regular videos and updates.