Firefighting in the Five Valleys

30th August 2018

The Five Valleys Walk, our flagship sponsored walk in the beautiful Cotswold countryside around Stroud, is fast approaching. Among those joining us on the day – Sunday 30 September – will be a team of firefighters

Five Valleys Walk FVW firefighters

They’ll be hard to miss; they’re walking the route in full kit!

As if the challenge to complete the 21-mile circuit wasn’t already tough enough, the eight firefighters, from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue based in Corsham, will have full fire kit and breathing apparatus on, weighing 27kg. They are however making a concession to wear walking boots rather than fire boots, for safety reasons.

Aware of the consequences

Andy Webster, secretary of the Corsham 22 Fire and Rescue social club, told us that no one involved has a direct experience of meningitis, but as parents and grandparents they are only too aware of the devastating consequences the disease can have.

“Each year the social club elects a charity in conjunction with The Firefighters Charity to fundraise for,” he said. “Each charity is put forward by members and voted for on merit."

“This year the Club voted Meningitis Now as the most worthy. In previous years we have supported Julia's House, Wiltshire Air Ambulance and MND association.”

Uncomfortable and hot

The eight walkers - Andy Webster, Chris Hughes, Paul Clifford, Simon Chun, Dave Lucus, Luke Somerville, Odie Healey and Lee Tregellis - are not doing any special training for the event but are well aware of the nature of the task they’ve set themselves.

“As fire fighters we have to maintain a good level of fitness but endurance walking in fire kit and BA is very uncomfortable and hot,” Andy added.

“It is a good test of mental and physical strength and each member of the group undertakes their own fitness training. Running and walking help but nothing can really prepare you for a challenge like this.”

Whole station involved

“The whole station also gets involved in fundraising, with some members making themselves available to keep the fire engine on the run to allow the walkers to participate in the challenge!"

“So, it is a whole team effort and not just the walkers,” Andy told us.

The team comes prepared to deal with any incidents on the way round too. “During one fundraising walk we also dealt with a car crash on the route, so we are always ready for anything!” Andy said.

Which we hope won’t be necessary this time round but is, nevertheless, rather reassuring!

Together the team hopes to raise at least £1,600. You can support their efforts on their sponsorship page at

Many thanks for your support gentlemen and good luck with the challenge!

Want to join the firefighters and thousands of others on our Five Valleys Walk this year? We’d love to see you! Find out more and sign up here.