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A group of 18 firefighters who attended the Grenfell Tower blaze are set to run the London Marathon in a bid to raise vital funds for groups supporting local people affected by the fire. They are also fundraising for the Fire Fighters Charity, which continues to provide physical and psychological support to the firefighters who attended the blaze.
The firefighters were amongst the first to arrive on the scene of the Grenfell Tower fire on 14th June 2017. Seventy one people are now known to have died and it is the worst residential fire we have ever dealt with.
Nine of the firefighters are from the Red Watch at North Kensington Fire Station and the other nine are from the Red Watch at Paddington Fire Station. The Paddington crew are taking part in the Marathon in full firefighting gear, including breathing apparatus, meaning they will be wearing an extra 30kgs of weight. In total there will be 53 London firefighters running the Marathon, that number includes the 18 running for Grenfell.
Raising money for the Grenfell community
The North Kensington firefighters are raising money for Kids on the Green, a project designed to provide a calm space for families, teens and children affected by the blaze. It provides arts and crafts, sports, entertainment and psychological support for the children.
The firefighters from Paddington are fundraising for three charities that are directly helping those affected by the fire. The Harrow Club W10 works with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and has worked tirelessly with young people affected by the fire.
The Rugby Portobello Trust supports local children and young people, providing space for activities like sport, drama and dance, as well as providing a safe space for play. The Fire Fighters Charity provides health and wellbeing support to firefighters in need. They have provided ongoing help to the firefighters who have suffered with injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the Grenfell fire.
Crew Manager Martin Gillam from Paddington fire station said:
“This was a hugely traumatic event for everyone involved, both physically and emotionally. We are fundraising for the Fire Fighters Charity which has provided ongoing support to firefighters who attended the Grenfell fire and supports thousands of firefighters across the UK each year.
“We’re passionate about making sure money goes to the people who need it most so we’re also fundraising for two small charities, the Harrow Club and the Rugby Portobello Trust, which are dedicated to supporting local people in the Grenfell community.
“We are running in full firefighting gear and breathing apparatus, which is no mean feat as it adds an extra 30kgs of weight, which is roughly the same weight as a Dalmatian dog! It will definitely slow us down but we’re determined to finish the race as quickly as possible.
“We are grateful for any donations, however small, as the money will go straight to those who need it most.”
Firefighter Tom Abell from North Kensington Fire Station, said:
“We arrived on the scene of the fire at Grenfell Tower within minutes and were faced with a blaze of unimaginable scale and intensity. We battled to save lives as one of the worst British tragedies of modern times unfolded within our own community.
“In the weeks and months since the fire we have grieved with, and stood in solidarity with the survivors and community of Grenfell. Now, in 2018, we would like to help heal and re-build.
“We’re fundraising for Kids on the Green which was set up in the aftermath of the fire to provide free counselling to the children who survived, or were affected by the fire. They also provide free entertainment like discos, art therapy and parties. This fantastic organisation allows children who have seen and experienced the unthinkable to regain a sense of normality and do what kids do best, have fun!
“We would love the children of our community to grow up with their lives defined by happy times and achievements, not by tragedy. Please donate and help to make this a reality.”
London Fire Commissioner, Dany Cotton, said:
“I stood alongside firefighters as the fire took hold at Grenfell Tower, so I know all too well the absolute horror they dealt with last June. It takes some courage to do what they are doing, to yet again face this tragedy and to try make some good come out of it.
“I am very proud of these firefighters who represent the true essence of what it is to be a London firefighter - grit, determination and the sheer drive to help other people in the face of adversity.
“I really hope that people support their fundraising efforts, the Grenfell community deserves all of the help and support it can get and the Fire Fighters Charity continues to provide counselling and support to our staff, many of whom were left traumatised by Grenfell.”