London Fire Brigade

Firefighters raising money for sick children stuck in hospital this Christmas

17 December 2015

Wimbledon firefighters are raising money to buy presents and will deliver them with his crew on Christmas Eve to visit sick children in hospital.

Gareth Jennings, 31, has set up the Harrie Foundation, which is named after his five-year-old nephew who is currently battling a brain tumour.

The small charity aims to try and put smiles back on the faces of children affected by illness.

Wimbledon red watch will be visiting Sutton Royal Marsden, where Harrie was in August, and St Georges hospital Tooting, where he received rehab.

Gareth from Redhill in Surrey said: "Harrie was diagnosed with a brain tumour in August 2015 and the bubbly happy child’s world was turned upside down overnight.

"All he wanted to do was 'normal' things such as play with his toys, eat normal food and run around like children do but he just could not.

"He was in intensive care after brain surgery to remove a 5cm cancerous tumour.

"For me, I went from seeing him playing and chatting about his Transformers, to laying there connected up to all sorts of leads and tubes.

"And after I'd found out a few stories of the other children in the ward, it broke my heart.

'My secret weapon is my job as a firefighter'

“I have to try and do something positive to put smiles back on the faces of children affected by illness. I asked myself what skills do I possess to try and help them forget of their illnesses if only for one minute?

"My secret weapon is my job as a firefighter. I go to work in a big red fire engine, which for some children is enough to put a smile on their face.

"So after speaking to another firefighter at work, we decided to raise money so that we could take the fire engine to the same hospital and ward where Harrie had his surgery. We hope to give the kids, going through unimaginable difficult times, something to try and take their mind off all the treatment."

The watch held a charity golf day and raised over £5,000. Any additional money will be help fund hospital equipment and take Harrie to a dinosaur park.

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