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Issue 14 Spring 2016

Official magazine of The Fire Fighters Charity

The Fabulous Baker Boys Mat Riley and friends launch bake sale challenge

Donate For A Mate

How to help us support your friends

London Marathon 2016

Who’s running and how to sponsor them

hearing matters

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Editorial what they all do on a daily basis, to think about how they can help others; namely their friends, colleagues, fellow Watch members or support team members.

Welcome to the Spring/ Summer 2016 issue of Shout! from The Fire Fighters Charity. I’m delighted to be able to introduce you to this latest issue of the magazine and to two new campaigns that are running across the Charity this year; Donate For A Mate and Bake A Difference. You’ll see references to both these campaigns as you read the magazine. The first, Donate For A Mate, is a fundraising campaign which I feel goes right to the heart of all that we do here at the Charity and reflects the incredible bonds of friendship and camaraderie that we see in the fire and rescue service. We’re asking our supporters to do

Working together as a team is vital, whether you’re fighting fires or helping injured firefighters back to work. Everyone at the Charity will continue to work as one to support as many beneficiaries as possible, so I hope you’ll support Donate For A Mate and pull together as a team to help us to raise the funds needed to help more of your mates. Our Bake A Difference campaign, meanwhile, seeks to encourage as many of you as possible to bake, buy and eat cake (responsibly of course) this May! Bake sales are a great way to fundraise for the Charity and for aspiring bakers to follow in the footsteps of this issue’s cover star, our own star baker, Great British Bake Off contestant Mat Riley. So, if you think your biscuits are the best or your lemon drizzle takes some

beating, now’s your chance to prove it. Find out how from page 13. Elsewhere in this issue of Shout! we have some great stories from an incredible volunteer – Service Coordinator, Stuart Plaskett – and from our 2015 Spirit of Fire Beneficiary of Courage winner, Pete Lau. You can also discover who’ll be running April’s London Marathon for the Charity, and how you can sponsor them. We have articles on how to snack healthily (allowing for the odd cake baked in May), how to tackle social anxiety and how to perfect your posture. We also have details on some incredible fundraising events that you can take part in, news from across the Charity and the latest from our Commercial team. Enjoy the magazine.

Dr Jill Tolfrey Chief Executive

Contents 4 Shout! about it

All the latest news from The Fire Fighters Charity

6 Events Plenty to keep you occupied if you run, cycle or abseil

7 @FFC Tweets, posts, likes and shares

9 Raising the bar Meet Nathan Ashe, Charity Fundraiser and LFB Crew Manager

18 Thank you & good luck

33 Firefighting fit

Congratulations and applause aplenty

Introduced by Nicky Patton, Rehabilitation Services Lead

20 London calling

34 Back in business

Meet the inspirational runners taking on the London Marathon for us

24 Commercial update How to bag a bargain holiday at Harcombe House this summer

How to fix common posture problems.

36 Get me out of here Why some of us suffer from social anxiety and how to overcome it.

37 Do we need to snack?

26 Selfless service

What exactly should we be nibbling on when we get peckish?

Meet Sean Harrison MBE, Regional Coordinator and Company Member

Service Coordinator Stuart Plaskett on why volunteering is so important

38 Shout+

13 Cover story

30 Donate for Pete

42 Competition

Mat Riley and his Green Watch colleagues launch our Bake A Difference campaign

Would you Donate For A Mate to help us to support firefighters like Pete Lau?

Win a sports kit bundle from our friends at New Balance

10 On Her Majesty’s service

News and information for the retired community

Registered Office: The Fire Fighters Charity, Level 6, Belvedere, Basing View, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 4HG. Charity registered in England & Wales (1093387) and Scotland (SC040096) Disclaimer: The Fire Fighters Charity believe that the information given in this magazine is correct at the time of going to print. We cannot accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions. The opinions expressed in the magazine are those of the writers and not always that of the Charity. Where external links are provided – to other websites or social media accounts – we do not endorse the content carried on these sites and readers visiting them do so at their own risk. Although all advertising is expected to conform to the appropriate advertising standards, inclusion or insertion of such material in this magazine does not constitute a guarantee or endorsement on The Fire Fighters Charity’s behalf of the quality or value of any products or of the claims made for them by the advertiser. Readers are advised to verify product information with the advertiser.

Shout! about it

Contact the editorial team on or 01256 366566

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Shout! about it Here’s where you’ll find out what we’ve been working on, where, why, with whom and what for within The Fire Fighters Charity. We’re always on the look-out for interesting stories and if you’ve got something newsworthy that you’d like to Shout! about, let us know:

Gift Aid changes Gift Aid allows the Charity to reclaim 25p from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for every £1 donated to it. It represents a vital source of income and a means by which fundraisers can boost their fundraising totals by 25%. A donors willingness to allow us to reclaim Gift Aid on their behalf is traditionally captured through the use of a Gift Aid Form. However, HMRC has recently changed the technical wording of Gift Aid declarations – the small print that donors must read – which has meant that we have had to redesign our Gift Aid forms. Consequently, it is therefore essential that only forms like the one pictured here (below) are used to collect Gift Aid donations going forward. All old forms – identifiable by their beige background colour – can no longer be used and must be destroyed.

Rags to riches Firefighters at Egremont Fire Station in Cumbria smashed all past records in January when they won the Charity’s UK-wide recycling competition. Amassing a staggering total of 7.7 tonnes of recyclable clothing and textiles across the first month of the year, the station’s incredible efforts – together with those of the local community – helped to raise £1,700. Seeing off competition from 603 fire stations across the UK, Crew Manager Dave McDowell and his team got the whole community involved in donating unwanted clothing to the fire station’s textile bank. Runners-up were Oundle Fire Station in Northamptonshire, collecting a magnificent 1.9 tonnes of clothing and third place went to Driffield Fire Station in Humberside who raised an impressive 1.4 tonnes.

This year’s competition additionally saw outstanding work from Cambridgeshire who had five stations in the UK’s best performing Top Twenty, Northamptonshire with three stations and Berkshire with three stations. The Charity’s Sales Manager Kevin Biles, who will present Egremont with the 2016 Rag Trophy and winning hamper of chocolate, said: “In total more than 160 tonnes of clothing was collected from all fire stations during January 2016, redirecting it away from landfill sites, compared to 131 tonnes in the same month last year. The addition of collections from schools and community sites helped The Fire Fighters Charity raise more than £39,000. This is a fantastic achievement – thank you to everyone who took part.”


The Charity CANNOT reclaim any Gift Aid on donations captured using the old forms as the declaration is no longer valid. Therefore, to ensure that your fundraising efforts generate the maximum amount of money possible, please ensure that you use the new forms available on our website. Please email fundraising if you have any queries.


News Shorts... New Year’s Honours 2016 Congratulations to all those within or associated with the fire service who were presented with New Year’s Honours in 2016. A full list of recipients can be found on the Charity’s website.

Garfield Weston donation The Charity recently received a generous donation of £20,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation in support of our nursing service.

Charity pledges to end mental health stigma

#firekitchallenge Taking Twitter by storm, the Fire Kit Challenge has seen firefighters across the country, and across the planet, competing to put their full kit on in the quickest time. In the UK the Charity has been hugely grateful to all those competitors who took part and donated, also encouraging others to do so by texting FIRE to 70660 to give £5.

Good luck to The Flame And finally, best of luck to The Flame – and all our incredible fundraisers – as they take on some incredible challenges and undertakings in 2016.

February saw The Fire Fighters Charity sign the Blue Light Time To Change Associations Pledge – a campaign run by Mind, the mental health charity – joining a growing number of emergency service employers, associations and support organisations showing their commitment to ending mental health stigma and discrimination in the workplace. The signing took place at the Charity’s Head Office in Basingstoke, with Chair Ken Seager and CEO Dr Jill Tolfrey pledging their support to the Blue Light Programme, promoting a better understanding of mental health problems while offering support and wellbeing advice to their members, staff and volunteers. Dr Tolfrey said of the pledge: “The Fire Fighters Charity is pleased to support Mind by signing this pledge to promote wellbeing and end mental health stigma. With our primary goal being to support the fire community in their time of need, we work closely with our beneficiaries to provide whole-person focused rehabilitation, where participants engage in psychological support alongside physiotherapy and exercise therapy. As well as supporting the Mind Blue Light Infoline, we operate our own Helpline for eligible beneficiaries, which assesses and signposts to appropriate services.”

Become a Company Member in 2016 The Charity is currently seeking applicants for the role of Company Member. As a Company Member you will play a key role in the governance of the Charity. You will have the right to attend our annual general meeting and to cast your vote in the best interest of the Charity’s future. The ideal Company Member has a genuine interest in the Charity and a commitment to undertaking the key duties of the role. For more information about the role and an application form please visit our website: uk/company-members

Closing date for applications: 27 May 2016.

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The Fire Fighters Charity joins the wide movement of emergency service employers, associations and support organisations that have pledged to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination, including Derbyshire Fire & Rescue, Kent Fire and Rescue, Kent Police, Leicestershire Police, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Staffordshire Police, Surrey Police, Sussex Police and Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust. Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “Not only are many of our blue light personnel struggling with their mental health, but they’re less likely to seek support or have time off sick than the general workforce. Good mental health should be a priority in any workplace, but it is especially important that people exposed to traumatic or life-threatening situations – such as those working within the police, ambulance, fire and search and rescue services – receive appropriate and timely support. “We recognise the vital role organisations and associations that support the emergency services can play in promoting mental health and challenging stigma. By signing the Blue Light Associations pledge The Fire Fighters Charity is helping to fight stigma and promote positive mental health for their staff, volunteers, and the emergency services they support.”

Worth a read… Paperback: London’s Firefighters Author: David C. Pike Price: £19.99 via Synopsis: Following on from the hugely successful Beyond the Flames – A London fireman’s story, London’s Firefighters is a wonderfully readable, lavishly illustrated anthology of articles, fiction and verse about London Fire Brigade, most of it gathered from the Brigade’s house magazines London Fireman (1966-82) and London Firefighter (1982-2005). The book’s editor David C. Pike, himself a retired firefighter, has cleverly selected material that delivers both a comprehensive history of London Fire Brigade and a fascinating portrait of individual firefighters at work and (occasionally) at play. The numerous, often highly dramatic illustrations, many from London Fire Brigade’s own collection, offer a lively commentary on the text.



Dates with destiny

There are a host of events throughout 2016 for you to get involved with. Here are just a few.

30 May, 2016: Bupa London 10,000 (10K)

Details: If 10km is your race length of choice, the Bupa London 10,000 is ideal. Or, if you missed out on the London Marathon, try this! Essentially a micro-London Marathon sightseeing tour, the race takes in Buckingham Palace, Admiralty Arch, Nelson’s Column, St Paul’s Cathedral, Mansion House, the Bank of England, the Old Bailey, Somerset House, Big Ben,

the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. How to enter: You can run for The Fire Fighters Charity team by registering online at www. london10k

31 July, 2016: RideLondon 100 Details: One for long-distance cycling fans, this hugely popular traffic-free event runs for 100 miles through London and Surrey, following the route made famous by Olympic competitors at London 2012. Starting at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and ending on The Mall this is both a test of cycling endurance and a day that will live long in the

memory. If you were unlucky in the ballot, why not ride for us instead? How to enter: You can join The Fire Fighters Charity team by registering online at www. ridelondon Entry cost: £20 Minimum fundraise: £599 ex GiftAid

25 September, 2016: Berlin Marathon 2016

Entry cost: Just £10 Minimum fundraise: None. All we ask is that you raise as much as you can.

18 June, 2016: Spinnaker Tower abseil 2016 Details: The BMW Berlin Marathon is famous for its fast pavement and draws great numbers of top athletes and amateur runners each year. Numerous world best performances and world records have been set in the past few years. You could join them and

Details: How brave are you? If you are over 18, have no serious medical conditions and don’t bat an eyelid at the prospect of abseiling 300ft from the top of an iconic British landmark, this is the event for you. The Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth is one of the South Coast’s most famous sites and who could pass up the

opportunity to walk down it, from the outside? A great way to test your mettle and raise funds for the Charity at the same time. How to enter: Visit www. spinnaker Registration fee: £60 Minimum fundraise: £200

raise money for the Charity at the same time. How to enter: Register via our website at www. Registration fee: £30 (race place only) Minimum fundraise: £1,000

30 May, 2016: Bupa London 10,000 (10K) Details: Join our team to run this iconic 10km road race around the Capital. Take in the sights and follow in the footsteps of Mo Farrah on sections of the 2012 Olympics Marathon course, passing many of London’s famous landmarks, including Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the London Eye, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace.


How to enter: Register via our website at www. london10K Registration fee: £10, and we’ll send you a running pack and free running vest Minimum fundraise: None, all we ask is that you raise as much as you can



Whether tweeting, posting, liking or sharing, you’ve been as busy as ever on our various social media channels. Here’s just a brief snapshot of recent online goings-on, but you can join the conversation for yourself on Twitter (@firefighters999) or on Facebook (/thefirefighterscharity).

Tweet spot

Gemma Clarke @Elphaba_Rain Thank you for all your charity did for my dad. I will never forget it, and will continue fundraising for you! Thank you :D xx

Claire Parrish @clairelparrish

The Fire Fighters Charity literally put me back together again – I can’t thank them enough. £180 raised and banked today. A small way of saying thank you for all you’ve done for me.

Derby Uni Online @DerbyUniOnline

Congleton Baptist @CongBaptist

Nina organised a Diwali bake sale to raise funds for The Fire Fighters Charity. £200 was raised!

Thanks for all you do to help our firefighters and their families recover and recharge

Face to Face privileged to have such a brilliant facility available with staff that can’t do enough for you. The treatment is second to none and I got my back sorted in two weeks.

inspiration and encouragement last week I couldn’t have done it without you all. Laura, Gayle and Thea I will remember to keep my posture, practise for the synchronised swimming team and use pacer poles!

Brian Howes I have just returned from

Marney Lapsley Gardner This is THE

David Allen Fantastic place and feel so

four days treatment at The Firefighters Charity, Jubilee House, Penrith and would like to say what a fantastic place it is. Over the years I have had several injuries and never thought about going for therapy/rehab at any of the centres, but what a shame that was. I was not convinced at how much they could do in four days but was amazed. The staff and facilities are fantastic.

Stuart McMillan Can’t thank Laura Connolly and her fellow physios enough for looking after me this week. To the reception and kitchen staff and assorted staff members too, what a fantastic job you all do. It was hard work but a great atmosphere from day one. Sincere thanks to you all. Michele Thompson What a fantastic place. Thanks to everyone for all their

most unbelievable place - the care and attention that is given to you in EVERY aspect is 110% - whether it is the food you eat, the physical help and support, the psychological support or the day to day care you receive from all the staff at every level - makes a stressful and sometimes painful experience a positive one. I personally can’t thank them enough and although I know it will be hard I am looking forward to being back - thank you all so much, you’re all amazing!

Eric Bowyer A massive thank you to

all staff and to the residents for making my partner and I so welcome. We were nervous about attending initially but we’re soon put at ease by the incredible support that we received. The place is an absolute

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godsend and we can’t thank you enough.

Steve Manners Very lucky to have a place like this. Cannot praise staff enough, wonderful people. Claire Treanor-Smith Another great stay at the centre. All staff go the extra mile to make you feel at ease. Excellent place, excellent people xx Mark Muscarella Amazing, I cannot

praise this place enough. I went with a bad back injury in April having been off work since January. After three weeks with the excellent people there, I am now back at work on full duties. Don’t get me wrong, my back hasn’t magically healed, but they showed me how to deal with it and how to improve strength, mobility etc. The whole place is a joy to be at. If anyone has any doubts about going due to it being a strange environment, don’t fear as everyone up in the centre from the staff to those who are there for help are fantastic. I met some wonderful people. Thank you Jubilee House.





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Raising the bar By Nathan Ashe, The Fire Fighters Charity, Charity Fundraiser and London Fire Brigade Crew Manager


live in a small town called Coalville in Leicestershire, in the Midlands. In 2004 I joined my local fire station as a retained/on-call firefighter at 18 years old and in 2010 I joined London Fire Brigade. I started my career at Westminster Fire Station, which was a great place to work, right in the centre of London, and now work as a Crew Manager at Chelsea Fire Station. I first became aware of the Charity in 2012, when I injured my knee playing rugby. Fellow firefighters advised me of the services available, and while I was unable to attend due to leave, I began work as a Charity Fundraiser for The Fire Fighters Charity in June 2015. This role appealed to me as I

enjoy meeting and engaging with people and I knew that working for The Fire Fighters Charity would be rewarding. The Charity provides brilliant services that are more vital than ever, helping to keep people in work. My role is very flexible, and the work fits around my shifts – I work the 2-2-4 system with London Fire Brigade, so have three days off out of eight. The work involves visiting firefighters, non-operational staff and control staff across the Midlands, to educate and inform beneficiaries of the services that are available to them and their families. At these visits I ask beneficiaries if they would support the Charity by signing up to give regularly, or to play our Charity lottery.

The best part of the job is meeting and engaging with new people. I also enjoy having the flexibility to plan my own workload. It’s a great feeling when you walk away from a station at which members of staff have agreed to donate as you know that the money will help more beneficiaries at their time of need. The most challenging thing for me is reaching out and contacting retained/on-call control and non-operational staff. These groups tend to have limited training time per week, so it can be tricky to find enough of their free time to reach them and tell them about the work of the Charity. Moving forward, I would like to reach out more to MOD and

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airport firefighters, as some are unaware they are beneficiaries of the Charity. I’m also looking forward to telling people about our new Donate For A Mate campaign and explaining just what a difference they can make when they come together as a team to help an individual.

“The Charity provides a brilliant service and the services it offers are more vital than ever.”


“I got to meet the Queen. I had a few words with her about the Charity. I told her that times were difficult and we all needed to be pulling together.”

On Her Majesty’s service By Sean Harrison, The Fire Fighters Charity, Regional Coordinator, Southern region and Company Member


’ve been in the fire service for 26 years, and I’m currently Crew Manager Community Safety at Sandown on the Isle of Wight, working on a Safe and Well agenda to help the most vulnerable by signposting them to other services. I joined as a retained firefighter but eventually moved to wholetime as the fire service was always my passion. After joining, I took on fundraising roles helping out on things like Christmas collections, so that’s where my enthusiasm for The Fire Fighters Charity really began. Later, I moved to Cleveden and became a Charity Station Rep. It was a really busy role and one that I thoroughly enjoyed as I was passionate about doing all I could to help the Charity. That carried on when I moved to the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service in 2004, taking over the Station

Rep role at Cowes, and in 2011 I became Service Coordinator for the Isle of Wight, and then Regional Coordinator for the Southern region in 2012. The roles are quite varied. A Regional Coordinator works on a more strategic level, so I chair the Southern regional meetings. Participants from each of the seven Southern brigades come to understand what the goals of the Charity are, share best practice, key messages, initiatives that could go forward, and basically just work together to make sure we do the best we can to support the Charity in its objectives. I’ve been a Company Member since 2012, too. Company Members work more on the governance side of the Charity, voting on ideas and initiatives and changes to the strategic plan. They’re a crucial part of the governance structure and help to ensure that the Charity is always

following the right path. I’ve always loved what the Charity’s done, though I’ve never used any of its centres. It’s a great organisation. I’ve seen a lot of the outcomes from the services, and a fair few years ago I got a hardship grant, which helped me out massively. From that day on I tripled my supporting efforts. I’ve been down to Marine Court and seen what’s there and the benefits – people go there feeling low and leave feeling positive and recovering. I think that within the fire service we’ve got very little in regards to welfare, so the Charity is important. We’ve got to continue working now until we’re 60, so the Charity’s going to be needed far more to help us keep fit and healthy in an operational role. I recently received an MBE for services to the Isle of Wight, in connection to my


role within the Charity and my other volunteering roles. I’m one of those busy people who, in addition to my Charity roles, is also the Chairman of the Parish Council, and Vice Chair of Governors at Cowes Enterprise College. I was nervous on the day, we all were. It’s out of your comfort zone, not something you expect. I got to meet the Queen – it’s quite unusual, as she only does one ceremony a year. I was extremely honoured. I had a few words with her about the Charity. I told her that times were difficult, and we all needed to be pulling together to make sure we deliver. We talked about the Isle of Wight, and then we shook hands, I stepped back and bowed and that was it. A fantastic day, and my family absolutely loved it too. My son was blown away, plus Benedict Cumberbatch was getting his CBE at the same time so they quite liked seeing him too.

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Membership is open to all serving and retired firefighters as well as support staff working for any of the fire and rescue authorities in England, Scotland and Wales. Shout!

#BAKEADIFFERENCE #bakeadifference

The Great British Bake Off star Mat Riley and his Green Watch colleagues reveal their recipes for cake sale success this Spring. 12 13

BAKE A DIFFERENCE 2016 #bakeadifference


ver the course of seven memorable weeks last summer, East Greenwich firefighter Mat Riley graced the most famous tent in Britain, moved house and became a father. One of these trio of challenges would have been enough for most, but 37-year-old Mat managed to pull off the hat-trick and, along the way, became the most famous baker in the fire and rescue service

Having wowed Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood with his pistachio, cranberry and white chocolate biscotti; gin and tonic madeira cake and pina colada frangipane tart – and having had a few months to acclimatise to his new-found fame, unpack the last of the removal boxes and get used to baby Reuben’s sleeping patterns – Shout! approached the 6’4” Londoner with a brand new challenge.

Together with two of his Green Watch colleagues, Michael Williams and Rob Colvin, Mat agreed to help us launch a campaign to encourage firefighters, friends and families of firefighters across the UK to hold a bake sale this May. Bake A Difference 2016 aims to see tables up and down the land weighed down with baked delights. From buns, biscuits and breads to cakes, cookies and crumbles, we’re asking

Ingredients 450g Grated carrots 240g Raisins 4 Eggs 260g Golden caster sugar 240ml Corn oil 240g Plain flour 2 tsps Bicarbonate of Soda 1 tsp Vanilla extract 2 tsp Cinnamon Orange zest 125g Cream cheese 450g Icing sugar 125g Unsalted butter Orange zest and cinnamon to decorate


the nation to come together on or around May 16 – World Baking Day – to temporarily forget the diet, chuck away the celery and dig into a doughnut in the name of The Fire Fighters Charity. So, armed with rolling pins and whisks, Mat, Michael and Rob revealed what they’ll be baking for East Greenwich Fire Station’s Bake A Difference Day. Shout! of course, can vouch for the mouthwatering quality of each recipe, having stoically tested each of them at least twice.

BAKE A DIFFERENCE 2016 #bakeadifference

Step 1

Step 2

Mix together the eggs and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Add the corn oil, vanilla extract and zest of one orange.

Mix in the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon.

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Add the grated carrots and the raisins and mix together.

Pour the mixture equally into two lined and buttered baking tins. Bake for 30 minutes at 180ºC (fan oven)

For the icing, mix together the cream cheese, icing sugar and butter until smooth.

Step 6

Watch Mat’s ‘Bake Off Story

Ice the cake! You might find a piping bag useful here and don’t forget to ice the top of one layer before placing the second layer on top of it and icing that one. Decorate with a sprinkling of cinnamon and orange zest.

“We didn’t have time to let the cake completely cool today, which is why the icing is melting! So make sure yours is completely cool before piping your icing on top.”

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Watch our exclusive interview with Mat to find out how The Great British Bake Off has impacted his life. Visit com/firefighterscharity

BAKE A DIFFERENCE 2016 #bakeadifference

Ingredients 210g Hazelnuts 200g Dark chocolate 4.5 tbsps Cocoa powder 45g Self raising flour

90g Plain flour 280g Light soft brown sugar 6 Eggs 375g Unsalted butter Nutella Icing sugar

Step 1: Toast the hazelnuts under a grill, turning occasionally

Step 8: Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff

Step 2: Once cool, finely chop the hazelnuts

Step 9: Fold the egg whites into the other mixture

Step 3: Transfer to a bowl, add the cocoa powder and sifted flours

Step 10: Pour into a greased and lined 10”x3” baking tin

Step 4: Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4

Step 11: Bake for 50 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean

Step 5: Beat together the sugar and butter until creamy

Step 12: Rest for 15 mins, then cool on a wire rack

Step 6: Add the egg yolks one at a time. Mix well after each one

Step 13: Spread the Nutella evenly over the top of the cake, sprinkle with a few chopped hazelnuts and dust with icing sugar

Step 7: Add the hazelnut mixture and stir well, then add the finely chopped chocolate

Ingredients 114g Soft margarine 170g Caster sugar 170g Self-raising flour

4 tbsps Milk 2 Large eggs 1 Lemon 4 tbsps Icing sugar 3 tbsps Fresh lemon juice

Step 1: Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin or use cake tin liners Step 2: Cream the margarine and the sugar until light and fluffy Step 3: Add the eggs, lemon zest, milk and sieved flour. Mix well to a soft dropping consistency Step 4: Pour into the tin, smooth

Watch MatRileyBakes You can bake along with Mat online, just visit his YouTube channel for a host of recipes. Search for ‘MatRileyBakes’.


the top and put it straight into the oven at 165ºC fan for 50 minutes until firm, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean Step 5: For the syrup mix the icing sugar and lemon juice and pour it over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Leave it in the tin until cool. You can use more icing sugar if you’re after a thicker syrup.

BAKE A DIFFERENCE 2016 #bakeadifference

Michael Williams Age: 32 Role: Firefighter, East Greenwich If he was a biscuit he would be: A cookie I love baking and do it when I can and this recipe really appealed. Obviously having Mat on the Bake Off has got everyone interested in baking a bit more and I hope that will continue for us at work and at home. I’ve been a fulltime firefighter for almost 13 years and for the last 10 years I’ve been the Mess Manager, doing the cooking for everyone. I’ve loved every moment of it, but I needed a break from it and Mat has stepped up to it, so he does all the cooking now, not just the baking. This is a great job, incredibly rewarding. I love being involved and making a difference where I can. I’m lucky though in that I’ve never had to use the services of The Fire Fighters Charity, but I know how important it is for people who are in need, so I donate through my payroll.


Agree a date and time (go for elevenses, lunch or mid-afternoon when people are most peckish)


Download your free Bake A Difference poster from www.firefighterscharity.

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Stick your posters everywhere you can

Tell everyone! And tell us – bakeadifference@ and we’ll spread the word for you.


Rob Colvin

Recruit your bakers. Ask friends, family members and colleagues to make or bring in a cake of their choice. Ask them to write out a list of ingredients to display next to their cake, just so anyone with any allergies is aware.

Age: 30 Role: Firefighter, East Greenwich If he was a biscuit he would be: A custard cream (hard shell, soft centre!) Lemon drizzle has always been a favourite for both my wife and I. I’ve not always been into baking but have been since Mat was on the Bake Off.

Download our suggested signs for the day of your bake sale. We advise that you recommend a suggested donation of £1 per cake or slice. www.firefighterscharity.

The morale here was great while Mat was on the show and it was fun to watch someone you know on the telly. It’s also fun when you’re out on a shout and people recognise him and ask for his photo.

Make sure you’ve got a pile of plates and napkins to hand, a pot to collect your donations in and a small float

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Sell, eat, enjoy and fundraise! You could even sell a few extras on the side; teas, coffees, soft drinks etc.


After your bake sale, bank the money you have raised. You can either use your station’s paying in book or complete a Bake A Difference paying in slip - available from uk/bakeadifference and send a cheque to Bake A Difference, The Fire Fighters Charity, Level

I’ve also seen just how much the Charity needs to continue. The services are incredible, but they’re obviously not cheap, so I donate through my payroll and I play the lottery as well.


Tell us how much you raised and how it went. Email bakeadifference@ with the details and any photos you took on the day and we’ll share them online.

Don’t forget to take some photos of the cakes as well, especially of those show stopper cakes!

mat’s star bake Win a chocolate hamper

I’m a firefighter and a driver, have been for 12 years now (since I was 18) and I’ve been at East Greenwich for two years. My great grandad was a firefighter and I always just wanted to help people. I’ve been to Marine Court for rehabilitation, so I know a fair bit about The Fire Fighters Charity. I went there after a double knee operation and the physio team down there were remarkable. I came away having benefited hugely. I had no muscle in my legs when I arrived, but I could see the difference when I left, I even had to buy some new swimming shorts by the end as mine wouldn’t fit my legs!

6, Belvedere, Basing View, Basingstoke, RG21 4HG


Fire stations that inform the Charity that they will be holding a bake sale through their Regional Fundraiser will be entered into the mix to win a chocolate hamper and the Golden Rolling Pin. Simply let your Regional Fundraiser know how much you’ve raised and when you’ve banked the money and we’ll let you know how you’ve fared in the national Bake A Difference league table.

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he organisers of the bake sale that features the most spectacular cake of 2016, as chosen by Mat Riley, will also win a hamper of chocolate. Just send us an image of your show stopping cake contender, together with details of what it is and who baked it to bakeadifference@ uk Good luck!


Fundraising focus All around the country, our fantastic supporters are always busy swimming, cycling, running, walking and washing cars (amongst other things) to help raise money for the Charity. Here, we say thank you to those who’ve already completed their challenges, and wish the best of luck to those about to! If you’d like to feature on these pages, just email

Thank you... Sunnyside Heversham

Anita Gott opened up her delightful Sunnyside Heversham garden for a recent National Garden scheme event. Arnside Fire Station handed over a cheque for a fabulous £1,023.75 to The Fire Fighters Charity, which was raised from plant sales, a raffle and sale of refreshments. Thank you so much to all involved.

were joined by six friends to pedal 400 miles to their twin town of Malaunay in France. Well done to all those lads involved in this epic challenge.

Sandy Fire Station

Garelochead Fire Station

A group of firefighters from Sandy Fire Station and their friends raised more than £12,000 during a cycle challenge. The eight firefighters from the town’s fire station

A dozen firefighters from Garelochead took on a nine mile walk in full firefighting kit. Kevin Dixon and his fellow crew members walked nine miles, nine feet, nine inches – a


nod to the emergency number 999 – from the station to a supermarket in Helensburgh, raising a fantastic £3,222.50.


Good luck... Steve Holder

needed support by providing them with a recuperation break, and more recently have continued to provide invaluable support to Steve. Steve is running 20 marathons in 2016 in memory of Sharon and raising money for the charities that have supported them and continue to support him. If you would like to sponsor Steve, please visit www.virginmoneygiving. com/20Marathons2016 and to follow his progress www.20marathons2016.

The Flame

We’d like to wish a continued good luck to The Flame, who is currently taking on 12 months of challenges all over the UK to raise money for us.

Last year Steve Holder lost his wife Sharon after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. Sharon fought this horrendous disease with great dignity and courage. The Fire Fighters Charity gave Sharon and Steve much

The Flame, an anonymous individual, completes all of the challenges in full fire kit, helmet with mirrored visor and breathing apparatus. Recent challenges include running two Park Runs on New Year’s Day in Eastleigh and Southampton and Hell Runner Down South, a 12 mile mud run. The Flame is now looking ahead to the Silverstone Half Marathon, the Brighton Marathon, ABP

In memory of firefighter Jonathan Hughes

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue

In October 2015, Jonathan Hughes, a serving firefighter with Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service, sadly passed away, aged 26, after an incredible battle from a very rare form of blood cancer. An integral part of Red Watch Widnes, ‘Jonni’ is very much missed by everyone. In memory of Jonni, his family has donated £2,500 to the Charity, which was collected at Jonni’s funeral.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue’s new wholetime recruits completed a Row-a-thon at the Trafford Centre in Manchester. They raised a magnificent £4,100 by rowing the length of England in a day and received amazing support from the general public who were out shopping. Well done to all and congratulations for passing out as firefighters in the same week.

Southampton Half Marathon and the BUPA London 10km run. You can sponsor The Flame at

Halstead Fire Station Five Halstead firefighters are cycling 60 miles for the Charity. Sub Officer Steven Byrne and firefighters Steven Hill, Dean Woodburn, Liam Stanhope and Peter Ballisat are taking part in the Suffolk Fire Ride. The cycle ride starts across the border at Sudbury Fire Station on June 26. During the event, Halstead Fire Station will provide a place where riders can stop and enjoy refreshments before setting off again. To donate, visit halstead-fire

winner, collecting an amazing £4,521.29 with their Christmas Float and in the South East the winner was Preston Circus with a staggering £5,739.

Bows & Belles Ball The second Bows & Belles Ball was held on 10 October and raised £5,500 for the Charity. This fantastic event is held in memory of former Charity Fundraiser and volunteer Graham Bow MBE, who received a posthumous Lifetime Achievement award at Spirit of Fire 2014. Organised by wife Lynn, the ball was held in the Holte Suite at Aston Villa Football Club. Attendees enjoyed a three course meal with live entertainment and a disco. Well done to all involved and a huge thank you.

In memory of Robert Burgess Christmas Fundraising A huge thank you to each and every fire station that took part in our Christmas fundraising competition. The winner in Wales was Swansea Central, which collected a fabulous £2,842.42. Portishead was the South West

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Our heartfelt thanks to the family of retained North Berwick firefighter Robert Burgess, who collected £1,627.95 for The Fire Fighters Charity at his funeral. A measure of the high regard in which Robert was held by so many, this generous in memoriam donation will help us to support more injured firefighters across the UK.


London Calling: Meet Your Team


ey Virgin Mon pic credit: arathon London M

he Virgin Money London Marathon – one of the world’s most iconic marathons – takes place on 24 April 2016. This year 21 inspirational runners have secured a place as part of The Fire Fighters Charity’s London Marathon team, together pledging to raise a staggering £41,690, enough to put up to 35 injured firefighters through a programme of residential rehabilitation. As a fundraising event, there is no race in the world that comes close to the London Marathon. Now in its 36th year, over 50,000 runners are expected to pound the streets for charity and we are delighted that so many enthusiastic runners will be fundraising for us this year. Dr Jill Tolfrey, CEO of The Fire Fighters Charity, commented: “Taking part in the London Marathon is a fantastic achievement in itself; we will be cheering them on every step of the way. Without their support, commitment and enthusiasm, we just wouldn’t be able to help as many people as we currently do. Events like these provide a great way to bring members of the fire and rescue service and members of the public together, from across all areas of the UK, to take on an incredible personal challenge and to do something that could make a real difference to others.” 1

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pic credit: Virgin Mo London Marathon ney

Jonathon Munro, Crewe, Cheshire


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o gin M dit: Vir n pic creon Maratho d Lon

3 14 I’m running the VMLM as it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m running in memory of my Grandad who was in the fire service. 2


Paul Kay, Wirral, Merseyside



I am the Service Coordinator for Merseyside and I have asked everyone at MFRS to do something amazing for the Charity in 2016. I will be running three marathons in three months: the VMLM, Liverpool Rock n Roll and Mont Blanc Ultra.

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pic cre Londondit: Virgin Mon ey Marath on




Nina Kang, Derby I used to work for Derbyshire FRS. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2009 and have used the Charity’s facilities. I’m running the VMLM to give something back and to get fitter as the more active I am, the more my symptoms stay at bay. 4

Nigel Collins, Charing, Kent I was 48 years old when I joined the fire service wholetime and I started running before work with some of my watch just to keep fit. The Charity had helped a friend of mine and I felt I had a marathon in me to give something back. 5

Jenny Butler, St Neots, Cambridgeshire

I worked for Bedfordshire FRS for six years and was involved in organising many fundraising events. I thought that this time I would challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. I have never been a runner, so I thought I’d pick the hardest of them all – a marathon. 6

Bradley Hoare, Petersfield, Hampshire I am running the VMLM as a personal achievement and I want to give back to those brave men and women of the fire brigade who have been injured in the line of service. 7

Michelle Barnes, Hawes, North Yorkshire

I wanted to challenge myself before I turned 40 years old and I have always dreamt of doing the London Marathon. As a retained firefighter I know how important the Charity is and this year it’s great that I am able to run the marathon and raise lots of money while doing it. 8

Ben Norman, Blackpool, Lancashire

I want to raise some well needed funds for our fabulous Charity! My personal drivers are largely based around the need to regain fitness and lose some weight. The idea that many hours of running will be concluded with the completion (hopefully) of the greatest marathon in the world is too tempting. 9

Stuart Frear, Sturminster, Dorset

I have been a retained firefighter for 13 years. I have seen first-hand how important the Charity is and what benefits it can offer. My aim is to

complete the marathon to raise much needed funds so the Charity can continue to offer the much needed support. 10

John Magyar, Kellington, North Yorkshire

I have worked in the London Fire Brigade for the past 23 years and I am currently based at Paddington, Westminster as a Watch Manager. My brother and I have used the Charity’s services and I wanted to repay them for their help and ensure that the facilities are kept going for others to use. 11 Tom Wilson, Crowthorne, Berkshire

I am running the VMLM on behalf of the Charity because I think it’s a great charity that helps firefighters and their families nationwide! 12

Alan Knell, Runcorn, Cheshire I work for the Charity and I get to see the amazing difference that it can have on so many people’s lives. I’ve always wanted to run the VMLM so it made perfect sense to take on this epic challenge to support people from the fire and rescue community. 13

Fiona Hargreaves, Pagham, West Sussex

I work for the Strategic Risk Group at West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service HQ and previously I was a retained firefighter. I have set myself the challenge of running the VMLM to support the Charity as they help with both physical and psychological recuperation and rehabilitation and now I’m no longer operational, I wanted to carry on supporting my colleagues. 14

Terry-Wyn Jones, Ceredigion, Wales

I am keen and eager to run another marathon and to raise money for a worthwhile charity. I’m aware of firefighters who have lost their lives in service and the Charity has assisted their families immensely to try and regain a ‘normal’ family environment once again. I can’t think of a more worthy charity than The Fire Fighters Charity. 15

Erin Fairhead, Williton, Somerset

When I first started as a firefighter two years ago, I had an idea that one day I would like to run a marathon in full fire kit. Not such a strange ambition as someone has already done it and become a record breaker. He inspired me to give it a go. I hope to raise lots of money for the Charity that has helped some of my colleagues.


David James, Ferndown, Dorset davejameschallenge

Whilst working for the fire service I have heard some great stories about how the Charity has helped friends and their families and enhanced their quality of life. I believe that you would be a fool if you worked for the fire service not to challenge yourself to raise money for the Charity. 17

Fiona Bayes, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire

My father was a wholetime firefighter and my younger brother was part of our local retained crew. Following in their footsteps, I joined Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Control 10 years ago. I was recently involved in an RTC, and I attended Harcombe House for rehabilitation. Without the help of the staff at Harcombe, I would not be where I am today. This year I turn 30, so I decided to run the VMLM for the Charity as they have helped me and a number of friends. 18

Ashley Isaacs, Reading, Berkshire

I have always wanted to run the marathon. I have always been a keen runner and I see it as the ultimate challenge to run at such a big event. Plus I want to run a race that Mo Farrah has run in! 19

Justin Rickard, Guildford, Surrey

Last year I began taking part in ParkRun which is a 5 kilometre timed run on Saturday mornings hosted by volunteers and I started to get hooked on running. The company I work for is associated with the fire service. All my colleagues encouraged me to take up the challenge of running the VMLM for the Charity. The thought of running 26 miles was daunting but at the same time exhilarating. I took the time to read up about the great work the Charity does and the positive impact it has had. I woke up the following day and decided that I would do it! 20

Martin Blakey, New Milton, Hampshire

Having never run a marathon before I thought I would take up the challenge of running in the biggest marathon in the world and raise money for the Charity.

pic credit: Virgin Money London Marathon

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Spring Buys Got a birthday coming up? Or a special event? Visit our webshop for lots of great gift ideas. 1. Round-necked T-shirt (black, navy) £10.00






2. ‘English Firefighter’ T-shirt (navy) £10.95 3. ‘Scottish Firefighter’ T-shirt (navy) £10.95 4. ‘Welsh Firefighter’ T-shirt (navy) £10.95 5. ‘UK Firefighter’ T-shirt (navy) £10.95 6. ‘Retired Firefighter’ T-shirt (navy) £10.95 7. Polo Shirt (black, navy, white) £14.95 8. ‘Retired Firefighter’ polo shirt

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(navy) £14.95


9. Running vest £14.99 10. Cycling top £39.99 11. Scania Aerial Rescue Pump Mid and West Wales FRS £22.00 12. Water Bottle £5.99 13. Fireman Sam Playset with Figure Mountain Lodge £14.99 14. Fireman Sam Playset with Figure Boathouse £14.99

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15. Fireman Sam Playset with Figure Fire Station £14.99 16. Fireman Sam Push Along Vehicle Jupiter Fire Engine £9.99 17. Fireman Sam Giant Dominoes - £7.99 18. Fire Engine with Ladder £6.00


19. Emergency Team Fire and Rescue Service £12.99


20. Children’s Neenaw t-shirt (red, blue, pink) £5.00

21. 11” Blaze Bear cuddly toy £8.00


22. “Saved” Decanter and Glasses set £114.00

23. Baseball Cap (red, blue) £5.00


24. NEW Child’s Hoody (black) £14.95 15 16




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VISIT or call 01256 366566 All prices exclude postage and packaging. Shout!


Discover our box of delights Here’s a brilliant and simple way to fundraise for us at your next open day or event. Simply order one of our Shop-In-A-Box boxes, set it up, sell to your visitors and pay-in the proceeds.

Here are a few of the things you’ll find in your next box order…

What to do… To order your Shop in a Box call 01256 366566 or email siab@ firefighterscharity. Please give us a few weeks’ notice if possible. Your box will be delivered 3-4 days before your event


Children’s Neenaw T-shirt

Reflective armband and PVC fire engine torch keyring

Baseball cap


Rescue IQ car –fire

Using the price list provided, display and sell the stock at your event.


After the event, pack any unsold stock back into the box and return it to us, paying the money raised into the bank. Full instructions are provided in the box.


Acrylic Neenaw mug

Blaze Bear

Stationery set

Draw-string bag

35 piece Fireman Sam puzzle

Fire Engine with ladder and Fire Engine no ladder

For a full list of items in the box, or for more information, visit and select ‘Shop in a Box’.

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Happy Holidays With summer approaching and as our thoughts turn to holidays, here’s how you can secure discounted rates and book your next break at Harcombe House with ease.

With its picture postcard countryside and idyllic coastline, it’s little surprise that millions of holidaymakers plump for Devon as their holiday destination of choice each year. As a result, finding suitable and affordable accommodation can be a challenge. However, as well as making its popular holiday lodges at Harcombe House in Devon available for hire to members of the public – in a push to generate vital funds to support its work – The Fire Fighters Charity will continue to offer heavily discounted rates to its beneficiaries throughout the year.

“Opening up our fantastic properties at Harcombe House to the public will allow us to generate much needed income to support more beneficiaries with life enhancing services across our centres,” commented Chief Executive Dr Jill Tolfrey, stressing that the needs and requirements of the Charity’s beneficiaries will not be impacted. “It is vital that the Charity’s income grows in line with the increasing costs that arise as more people come to us for support,” she said. “Properties at Harcombe House will still be available to beneficiaries in genuine need of recuperation – and they will always come first – but this move will allow us to ensure maximum occupancy across the year and to generate funds that we can then plough straight back into our services.”

The decision to open up Harcombe House to the public was taken in light of increasing costs, a situation that has placed the Charity in a challenging position following a marked decline in traditional fundraising income.

Book your next break

At a time when many charities are also coming under increased scrutiny for the ways in which they fundraise, the Charity made the decision to look at how it can generate income by utilising its existing facilities and taking advantage of the enviable location of Harcombe House in Central Devon.

To take advantage of our discounted rates for your next short break or holiday, call Harcombe House directly on 01626 853639 to check rates and availability.


Sign-up via our website at or call our lottery hotline on 0870 759 8868

Registered Office: The Fire Fighters Charity, Level 6, Belvedere, Basing View, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 4HG.

Royal Patron Her Majesty The Queen

Promoter: Mrs K H Griffiths. The Fire Fighters Charity is licensed by the Gambling Commission ( No chances may be sold to a person under 16 years of age. Our social responsibility policy and full terms and conditions can be found on our website If you, or someone you know, needs information and/or help with problem gambling, please call Gamble Aware on 0808 802 0133 or visit


Selfless Service With first-hand experience of the Charity and the fire service, Service Coordinator Stuart Plaskett embodies everything you need to become a volunteer for The Fire Fighters Charity. Here’s his story...


ime is precious. We all know that – whether we’re at work, at home or at play, it always feels as if there aren’t enough hours in the day. Even so, there are those amongst us who go out of their way to try and give back to their local community by volunteering their time on top of all their daily responsibilities – Stuart Plaskett, The Fire Fighters Charity Service Coordinator for Cheshire Fire and Rescue, is just such a person.

firefighter. Starting on an apprenticeship he became a Rope Rescue Supervisor, Swift Water Rescue Technician, Animal Rescue Responder and an ATACC Instructor. Over this period he also did a huge amount for The Fire Fighters Charity, organising open days and car washes, as well as becoming a Station Rep, a role that helps to raise awareness of the Charity and coordinate fundraising for it on station.

With 22 years of experience in the fire service, Stuart took on this important voluntary role with the Charity just two months before we met him at his fire station in Knutsford. In this short period the 40-year-old has built on the great success of his predecessor in post and made a significant impact himself, drawing upon his personal experiences with the Charity, as well as an innate and natural ability to communicate with people from all walks of life, to reach more supporters and boost the region’s fundraising efforts.

Four years ago, Stuart moved to Knutsford Fire Station, where he recently took over as Service Coordinator, a role previously held by Pete Shields, who he respectfully refers to as a “legend” within Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service. Service Coordinators act as the key point of contact for the Charity in each Fire and Rescue Service. They provide a vital link between the Charity and the Fire and Rescue Service, cascading information down and acting as a point of contact for those looking to access the Charity’s services, as well as coordinating fundraising activity. So taking on the role from Pete was a decision Stuart didn’t deliberate over for long.

Stuart began his career at Warrington Fire Station, where he served for 18 years over two watches. He’d always wanted to be a

“For the last 8-10 years, I organised open days and car washes at Warrington and Knutsford,” he recalls. “I became a contact


Cheshire Show: Uniform then and now, 2015


for Pete as I was the Station Rep, and then Pete retired and I stepped up. It seemed like a natural progression. “Pete did so much for everybody, he still does, but my station-focused job and my commitments to my own family, mean that I just don’t have as much time as he did. Nevertheless, though, I’m hugely excited about the role. I love it. I’m going to stations to introduce myself and let people know about how things will work, and I’m putting a bit of onus back on the stations to do things.” Stuart has already made it to 12 stations and has a vision to recruit a rep at each station (100% success so far). He’s also keen to improve Cheshire’s intranet, ensuring there is a dedicated section of the homepage for the Charity. “I thrive off challenge,” he says. “I do tend to think of myself as quite a caring person. If people need to use the services, I want them to ask me about it – my main job at the moment is to make people aware of me

and the services out there. But fundraising is someone to agree to become a rep, or firefighters signing up to become regular vital – it’s a must, so I do all the open days donors. and car washes that I can. I also work with Jim Brown, the local Charity Fundraiser, to “Whenever I’m doing this stuff I really enjoy raise awareness of the importance of regular it – I’m giving something back. I genuinely go giving, of becoming a regular donor or of home feeling good about myself.” uplifting your donations. I’m keen to boost Cheshire’s record in this area. I was Stuart’s enthusiasm for and devotion told that if every firefighter in to the Charity is clear to see the country paid £10 a month and, when you consider his into the Charity, it would own first-hand experience “Fundraising is vital. of its services, it’s easy to be self-sufficient and able to do so much more for It’s a must, so I do all understand why. beneficiaries. So that has the open days and “I’ve always known about to be the target.” the Charity,” he says. “My car washes His approach may be first experience of it came that I can.” different to that of his when I went to Jubilee for predecessor, but Stuart has rehabilitation following an operation on my knee. It was been pleased with the reception brilliant, out of this world. I never he has been given by colleagues thought I could do so much on a knee that across Cheshire: “All the feedback I have had been operated on only a few months had from the community has been so before. They’re long hard days, you’re not positive,” he says. “Every station has taken there to slack, you’re there to work, but I away something, whether that’s finding

26 27


got back on the run sooner than I thought I would be able to.” However, as his growing family were also eligible beneficiaries of the Charity, Stuart’s children were able to benefit from its services, as he explains: “Two of my sons, Luke (11) and Oliver, (7) have both been diagnosed with autism, ADHD, (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) Tourette’s and dyspraxia, and Oliver additionally with pathological demand avoidance. I found out about the Charity’s Child and Family Week at Harcombe House and have been twice with the boys. They’re out of this world, they’re fantastic. It’s more than you’d ever do with your kids in a week of your lives, but you’re doing it with people with children with the similar diagnoses. You’re made to feel that nothing’s an issue or problem.

“My father-in-law, a retired firefighter, has had two quite catastrophic brain injuries in the last three years which sadly left him severely disabled, unable to speak or walk. He and his wife Sheila have also accessed the services, first for recuperation and then for nursing care along with rehabilitation for Sheila just before Christmas.

the UK, all of whom are vital to building a sustainable future. Without them the Charity simply wouldn’t be able to function, so if Stuart’s story inspires you, why not consider becoming a volunteer yourself?

“Three generations of my family have used four of the services, which has given me a great understanding of the Charity’s incredible work and spurred me on even more. I always said I’d help Pete, but why wouldn’t I take this on after using all of the facilities?”

“Three generations of my family have used four of the services, which has given me a great understanding of the Charity’s incredible work”

Humble, hard-working and selfless, Stuart Plaskett is just one example of our exceptional Charity volunteers across

Stuart with CFRS search and rescue dog Bryn

How to become a volunteer If you are interested in volunteering with the Charity and work for a Fire and Rescue Service, talk to your local Service Coordinator to discuss ways in which you can get involved. Alternatively, email to express your interest.


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REQU EST Imagine one of your workmates was in trouble. Would you help them if you could? Would you expect them to help you? Donate to The Fire Fighters Charity and you will be helping thousands of fire and rescue service mates across the UK….mates like Pete Lau.


ete Lau, 49, retired from his role as Assistant District Commander of Bradford, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service after he was paralysed following a devastating cycling accident in the North Yorkshire Dales in April 2014. After 25 years of service, former firefighter and Station Manager Pete suffered a life-changing spinal injury when his bike

collided with a car. He was left fighting for his life and spent seven months in hospital, including six weeks in a coma. He broke 11 ribs, fractured his scapula, punctured both lungs and suffered massive spinal damage. Having completed intensive hospital treatment, Pete attended The Fire Fighters Charity at Jubilee House on three occasions for rehabilitation last year. He was, he admits, very

apprehensive about going: “It that made small adjustments to was the first time I had been my lifestyle and which has now, away from home since consequently, enhanced being released from how I live. I will never hospital,” he said. be able to get “But when I got the use of my “It is vital that there, I found legs back but firefighters that all the what I can do support their staff really and what I own. We share a care for you have done is bond that is much and make develop what I more than just sure that you have left so that a job.” are cared for in it works to the every single way. best of its ability. They put together a This has enhanced my rehabilitation programme independence.



“Unless you have used it, you don’t realise what a valuable resource the Charity is, and it’s an expensive resource to run. We are probably one of the very few industries where we have access to such a specialist resource. But all that has got to be paid for somehow, so it’s important to get involved and support the Charity.” Committed to making a difference, the father of two and self-confessed adrenaline junkie continues to fundraise for the Charity. “I certainly won’t be running any marathons,” he says, “but I will be doing what I can, when I can. I have been involved with many station open days and other fundraising events, such as the fabulous Christmas Concert that was arranged and delivered by my colleagues and my local Fire Fighters Charity Beneficiary Support Coordinator, Bruce Reid.

approached his rehabilitation with a determination and discipline that has left others in awe of his resourcefulness and spirit. He even used his skills as an experienced and qualified scuba diving instructor to inspire others with spinal injuries to get into the water. Pete deservedly won The Fire Fighters Charity’s ‘Beneficiary

of Courage’ award at the Spirit of Fire ceremony in October last year due to his courge and strength in the face of adversity and to his dedication to fundraising for the Charity. If you and a group of friends donated just £10 a month for a year, you’ll help to fund a week of life enhancing rehabilitation for someone like Pete.

Below: Pete Lau, receives his award from guest presenters Niamh McGrady and Jodie McGrane, alongside news presenter Nick Owen

“But now I want to challenge myself further as I have gained so much control of my own independence. I am planning a parachute jump and a climb up Mount Snowdon. These are things that are all coming together that I will hopefully do for the Charity.” Pete continues: “It is vital that firefighters support their own. We share a bond that is much more than just a job, we stand hand-in-hand and help each other deal with so many difficult situations, such as trauma, high-risk situations and sadly disasters. We understand each other in a unique way. “We join the service not primarily for financial reward but because we want to make a difference, to restore calm, normality, health and wellbeing. This should of course apply to our own too.” Despite the many challenges Pete has had to overcome since the accident, he has 30 31




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Remember those resolutions? Nicky Patton, Rehabilitation Services Lead, on how you can tackle those wayward New Year’s resolutions.

With the New Year now well under way, I wonder how many of you are still keeping to your New Year’s resolutions, especially if they are activity/fitness/ exercise-related? If you are still achieving your newly set goals, then well done – keep at it! You should be seeing the benefits of your lifestyle change already. And if you have unfortunately not been able to stick to them, then don’t let that stop you from starting again. It really doesn’t matter when you start a change, as long as you make the change… which I think a certain Michael Jackson once sung about!

a good thing, we should be living longer and enjoying our health for longer, but an ageing population tends to see an increased requirement for healthcare as people get older. Just like the NHS, we are seeing an increase in our ageing beneficiary population here at The Fire Fighters Charity, which brings its own challenges for us as we see a corresponding increased demand for our services. For those of you who have had cause to use our centre-based services, you will have seen just how amazing our facilities and staff are and, I hope, just how much of a difference they can make. However, this provision and the increased demand for our services does come at a price, with the Charity having to raise around £9m a year to

operate its various services, at our centres and in the wider community.

based best practice across all our various fields, from physiotherapy to psychology.

With 2,345 beneficiaries receiving rehabilitation in 2014/15, you can guess at how much wear and tear our machines and kit suffer over the course of time. That’s a lot of treadmill miles, a lot of bodies in the pool, a lot of assessments, training programmes and oneto-one support. So I’m sure you can also appreciate how important it is that we maintain our equipment and invest when we need to in order to sustain the high levels of service our beneficiaries deserve. Similarly, it is vital that we invest in our staff team, providing continuous professional development and training to ensure that we are always abreast of the latest guidance and evidence-

I’m also sure you’ve read a lot in this issue of Shout! about the importance of supporting the Charity, so I won’t harp on about that here. Instead, I’d just ask you to have a think about those New Year resolutions you made back in January. If they’ve fallen by the wayside, what could you do instead to make a difference – for yourself, or for others – in 2016? A run, a walk, a cycle, a car wash, or a bake sale (a healthy one of course, followed by something active)?

By getting more active and making these important functional and lifestyle changes you are giving yourself a great shot at remaining as healthy as possible, in whatever stage of life you are. Indeed, it’s because people are sustaining good health for longer that we are in a situation now whereby the UK has an ageing population. Of course this is

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However you decide to tackle your resolutions, please bear us in mind, be sure to be active and stay healthy. With all due respect, I hope I don’t see you in 2016.


Back in business In the second of her two part look at posture, Marine Court Clinical Team Leader, Michelle Mason, discusses common problems and how we can fix them. Slumping your shoulders doesn’t just make you resemble one of our long-extinct ancestors, it can affect both your physical and emotional wellbeing. Poor posture can place a tremendous toll on your body and lead to a cascade of structural flaws that result in joint pain, reduced flexibility, weak muscles and even altered digestion. These problems can be managed by adopting the correct postures for the activity and through exercises that can strengthen and lengthen the right muscles. Here are a few of the most common problems and some suggested ways to improve them.

Problem: ‘Pokey’ chin, ‘text neck’ or generalised neck pain? Why: Weak deep neck flexor muscles, overuse of muscles on top of the shoulders Fix: Strengthen the deep neck flexors How: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, neck on a folded towel. Allow your arms to relax by your side, palms uppermost, and relax your shoulders. Gently brace your abdominal muscles. From this position, slowly tuck your chin in (as though making a double chin) allowing your neck to lengthen along the mat. Briefly hold this position, relax and repeat Sets: Perform 10 repetitions / three sets

Problem: Rounded shoulders Why: Tight muscles around the chest and weak muscles around the shoulder blades Fix: Corner Stretch. Lengthen the pec muscles, strengthen the muscles around the shoulder blades. How: In the corner of a room place your hands at either shoulder or head height. Slowly move your chest forward, as close to the wall as possible without moving your hands. You should feel a stretch in the front of your shoulders. Sets: Hold for five seconds and repeat 10 times.


FIREFIGHTING FIT Problem: Hunched posture Why: Stiff thoracic spine, tight chest muscles, weak shoulder muscles Fix: Corner stretch, prone shoulder press, thoracic reach and thread How: For the prone shoulder press, lie face down with a Pilates block under your forehead. Raise your shoulders and elbows to 90 degrees. Lift arms up away from the floor and press upwards above your head. Ensure your arms don’t touch the floor throughout the exercise. To progress this exercise you could hold light dumbbells in your hands. Sets: Repeat three x 10 repetitions

Problem: Bottom sticking out Why: weak core, tight hip flexors Fix: Hip flexor/quad lengthening, bridge and core strengthening, walking lunges How: Take a large stride forward, keeping your body upright, lower straight downwards, drive through the heel of your front foot to return you to the starting position. From this position take a stride forward now with the opposite leg, and repeat the process so that you continue to travel forwards while lunging. You should feel a stretch in the top (hip area) of your back leg. Sets: Two sets of 20 strides

Problem: Flat back Why: Tight hamstrings, weak core, weak bottom. Fix: Hip hinge, bridge, plank How: For a hip hinge use an un-weighted bar and place it behind your back. Keep the bar in contact with your coccyx, in line with the spine, following up through your shoulder blades and in contact with your head. From here, hinge forward at the hip maintaining all points of contact and a soft bend in the knees, but not too bent. Sets: Repeat for 10 x three repetitions

Problem: Hunched posture Why: Stiff thoracic spine, tight chest muscles, weak shoulder muscles Fix: Corner stretch, prone shoulder press, thoracic reach and thread How: For the thoracic reach and thread adopt a position in fourpoint kneeling on a gym mat. Keep your spine in a neutral position throughout. Follow your hand with your eyes throughout the exercise. Rotate and elevate one hand up to the side of your body. Draw it back down and thread it through underneath your opposite arm. Hold the end position briefly, and repeat. You should feel a lengthening/ stretch in your upper-middle back. Sets: Repeat two x five repetitions on each side

Problem: Bottom sticking out Why: weak core, tight hip flexors Fix: Hip flexor/quad lengthening, bridge and core strengthening, walking lunges How: Lie on your back on a mat. Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Hands should be palm down on the mat. Keeping your head on the mat and looking at the

ceiling, gently contract your gluteals (bottom muscles) and slowly curl your bottom off of the mat so that it is clear of the floor. Briefly pause, then slowly lower back to the floor. To progress this exercise you could cross your hands over your chest or lift one foot off the floor and straighten. Sets: Three sets of 10 repetitions

Problem: Flat back Why: Tight hamstrings, weak core, weak bottom. Fix: Hip hinge, bridge, plank How: For a front plank adopt a position resting on your forearms with your body in a straight line, ensure you keep your hips high and do not let them drop below the

line of your body. NOTE: You should not feel any discomfort in the lower back. Hold this static position for the given time. Focus on squeezing your glutes and quads tightly and maintain this control throughout the exercise. Sets: Three sets working up to 60 seconds

All these exercises should be performed in a pain-free range. If any exercises are aggravating symptoms, please seek medical advice from your GP or physiotherapist.

34 35


Get me out of here! Psychological Therapist Anthea Whitaker on social anxiety and how to overcome it. Worrying about being judged, criticised or making a fool of one’s self in front of others can bring about a stress response that sets the heart racing. Indeed, stomach churning, sweating, chest tightness and rapid breathing are just some of the physical symptoms that may be experienced.

Are you the kind of person who heads to the kitchen at parties, who stays near the exit door, or who needs a little Dutch courage to get there in the first place? Whether you’re a little anxious in situations like this, shy or filled with fear and dread at the thought of meeting new people, you’re not alone. A certain amount of shyness or anxiety is normal and many beneficiaries who attend one of The Fire Fighters Charity’s centres for the first time often tell us that they felt apprehensive about coming on their own. However, for some the level of social anxiety can be more acute and lead to isolation, panic and a debilitating experience that takes over their everyday lives. Thoughts around social interaction with friends can feel comfortable, but meeting strangers or visiting new places can bring about strong feelings of fear for some.

Fearful thoughts about social situations may seem too much to manage and our own self-critical voice may place us in an anxious mode of thinking prior to the event itself. It’s not unusual to plan and replay conversations and to anticipate the event going badly, before you’ve even set foot outside your front door.

Being curious about our own anxious thoughts in a nonjudgemental way may help Even if we do manage to attend, increase our awareness and once we are back home we understanding of what is may then reflect on what could triggering the fear. Are the have been better or what we reflections based on low could have done differently, confidence, or a with the judgemental past bad event? voice in our head Are we filtering replaying events “Social anxiety information with and causing can lead to a bias towards us to doubt or isolation, panic the negative fret over our and a debilitating rather than actions. the positive experience In the longerexperiences that takes over term our that have everyday life.” behaviour may occurred alter as we refrain previously? from meeting new If you do find yourself people, avoid talking on the concerned, for example about phone or steer ourselves away attending one of our centres on from what we perceive to be your own, here are some ideas difficult situations and events. that you may find helpful: However, avoidance and shortterm behaviours that keep us • Speak to someone who feeling safe may of course may have attended one of the keep us trapped in a socially centres to find out what their experience was like. anxious cycle.


• Pay close attention and listen to what others are saying to you rather than the critical voice in your head. • Check out information on the website and video clips for each of the centres, or for a venue you may be visiting. • Gradually change the use of avoidance or short-term safety behaviours, starting with the easiest; this can help reduce the cycle of fear and anxiety. • Talk to someone: a therapist may help bring you an awareness of the unhelpful assumptions you are making and of your safety behaviours and avoidance strategies, and help you work through these. In the end, you may still want to be in the kitchen at parties, but at least this can be a choice now rather than an escape.


Do we need to snack? Exercise Therapist and nutritionist Rob Smith on the healthy answer to those mid-morning snack cravings. a healthy addition to our diet and packed full of vitamins, protein, minerals and fibre.

WHY NOT TRY THE IDEAS BELOW? A small handful of raw nuts. Walnuts are a great choice as they give you a healthy dose of Omega 3 fatty acids which are important for heart and joint health and can even help with depression

So, do we actually need to snack? Well, a review of the current research would allow you to argue a case for either side. The one message that is consistent, however, is that of snack quality, and it’s easy to understand why. If the snacks we are eating are high in fat, sugar and salt – such as crisps, chocolates and doughnuts – and if snacking represents a quarter of our total calories, then we are basically consuming a fourth meal each day of nothing more than sugar, fat and salt! So, if we are snacking then it makes sense that we should endeavour to ensure that our snacks are

A boiled egg. This sounds like a lot of effort for a snack but you can boil a batch and store them in the fridge. Peel in the morning and store in a container ready for work. A boiled egg contains about 6-7g of protein, so would be a good choice if your lunch or breakfast is low in protein. Apple and cashew or almond butter. This sounds horrible, but trust me, you will like it. Slice an apple, smear over some cashew or almond butter on each slice and enjoy. The apple will provide some natural sugar while the butter will provide some protein and fat. Vegetable sticks with cottage cheese or reduced fat and sugar hummus. Chopped celery, cucumber and carrot with a small pot of cottage cheese or hummus if you want a stronger flavour. This snack will provide you with a good dose of fibre and calcium if you opt for the

cottage cheese. Three heaped tablespoons will provide you with one of your five a day. Yoghurt with nut and seed mix. Buy a plain low-fat tub of yoghurt and a flavoured low-fat yoghurt. In the morning, mix half of each in a small pot and add a sprinkle of nut and seed mix. By doing this you will reduce the sugar content associated with flavoured yoghurt.

36 37

So, if you choose to snack, remember these three key points: 1. Snack quality is top priority 2. Snacks are extra calories, so make sure this is reflected in the portion sizes of your main meals 3. Prepare in advance to avoid eating unhealthy snacks



Retire, renew, refresh, review and rewind

SUPPORTING YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS Retiring from the fire service doesn’t mean you stop being part of it. The fire service family is for life and even though moving from working to retired can be a challenging transition, The Fire Fighters Charity remains a constant. There for you during your working life and here for you now in retirement. As you may have seen elsewhere in this issue of Shout!, we’ve launched a new campaign – Donate for a Mate – through which we’re asking firefighters to donate to support their friends and colleagues in the fire service. Importantly, however, we’re also asking those who have retired from the service to continue to donate towards the Charity, to support us in helping to support your former workmates, current friends and fellow retired firefighters. Just as friends are for life, so is The Fire Fighters Charity. We will be here for you when you need us, but we need your donations to allow us to do so and we’re hugely grateful to those of you who donate through our regular giving scheme. The Charity works with retired individuals every day at our three centres in Cumbria, Devon and West Sussex, most of whom have spent decades in the fire service, and in 2014/15 we helped 1,497 former personnel, our second largest group of beneficiaries after serving firefighters. Retired firefighter Ken Edwards

has had two total knee replacements, and attended rehabilitation at Jubilee House in Cumbria. He says: “Before coming to Jubilee my walking was vastly impaired. I was determined to get fit again and the therapists helped me get movement back into my knees. “I firmly believe in the Charity. Everyone should be made aware of what is available to them but I would also encourage people to donate as much as they can as you never know when you may need

them. It is such an important thing to donate; the money that everyone contributes goes towards the upkeep of all three centres and its services.” Retired firefighter Jon Hudson, from London, also had two knee replacements and is still working on a return to full fitness. He agrees that it’s important to support the Charity through a regular donation: “On my most recent visit, the physiotherapist helped me beyond imaginable possibilities and I was able to access the


anti-gravity treadmill. What a piece of equipment! “The Charity not only helps people in active service, but the retired. You are not forgotten when you leave. I continue to give to the Charity through regular giving – you never know when you may just need them.” If you’d like to become a regular donor and to donate for your mates, visit www.


MEET ALAN Retired firefighter Alan Blacklee, 55, is from Darlington and served in Cleveland Fire Service for over 30 years. After undergoing illness, surgery and treatment for bowel cancer, Alan visited Jubilee House for rehabilitation.

concerned how I would cope with the physical aspects of the programme, especially in the pool. But I needn’t have worried. There was no judgement from anyone at the centre; my confidence just went from strength to strength.”

Alan says: “I didn’t hesitate to get in contact with the Charity. I had already attended Jubilee with a leg injury some years ago. After my operation I was told that I would need intense physiotherapy, so there was no question in my mind. I got in contact with the Charity straight away. “I was apprehensive about attending this time. The surgery had left me with a colostomy bag and I was very selfconscious about my body. I was

Alan explains that his surgery was invasive and it left him with a weak left leg: “I now work as an HGV driver. I was worried at work that when I moved quickly my left leg wouldn’t react. So when I visited Jubilee I wanted to improve my physical strength and movement in that leg. “I was given a tailored programme and I am still continuing with the exercises now that I am home. The weakness has gone, I can now walk further and climbing into my vehicle is a lot easier. It is

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Jenny Bennett is looking for anyone who knew her mum, Winifred Gwendoline Walton, known as Gwen, who served in London Fire Brigade back at the start of the Second World War, in 1939. Details of of Gwen’s service are few and far between. As far as Jenny knows, Gwen, who hails from Tipton in the West Midlands, worked in central London, in Lambeth. Jenny says her mum served throughout the war, and that afterwards she worked at Lockerbie and Wilkinson back in the West Midlands. Needless to say, Jenny is very keen to try and find out exactly where her mum did serve and what she did in the war, so if you can help, please email shout@firefighterscharity.

Gwen (right) pictured alongside Jenny on her wedding day, 1969

38 39

still early days, but I am feeling a lot better. “The programme was excellent. The staff watch you all the time and will change it if necessary. One evening whilst I was there I experienced some pain in my abdomen. The staff on duty deduced what the problem was and they re-adjusted my programme and changed my exercises. The pain disappeared. It was marvellous. “I have decided to organise a Coast-to-Coast fundraising cycle ride this year with a group of friends to give something back to the Charity who helped me. We have just started our training, and so far, so good! We hope to cycle through Penrith and will certainly stop at Jubilee House for a cup of tea on the way.”


PAST AND RETIRED MEMBER ASSOCIATIONS We hope that you find this list useful, but if your association isn’t here and you’d like it to be, let us know by emailing us at National Association of Retired Firefighters

NARF Buckinghamshire

Durham and Darlington Retired Members Networking Group

ECFRS Retired Members Association

Hampshire Past Members Association

NARF Hereford and Worcester

Humberside Retirement Page

London Fire Brigade Retired Members Association

Find an old fire service friend

NARF Sheffield and Rotherham

Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue ‘Old Hands’ section


NARF West Midlands Branch

Wiltshire Retired Firefighters Association


Chief Fire Officers Association

Keep fit by playing bowls, visit the FSSAA website

Firefighters Memorial Charitable Trust

Worshipful Company of Firefighters

Department of Work and Pensions

Civil Service Pensioners Alliance

National Pensioner’s Convention

Kent Fire & Rescue Retirement Association

Derbyshire NARF

Disclaimer: This information was collated by The Fire Fighters Charity and to our knowledge was correct at the time of going to print. We cannot be held responsible for any changes to this advice or for any external links or information.

NARF CORNER Ian Ferguson, editor of the National Association of Retired Firefighters News, on the secret to a happy and fulfilled retirement. I retired from the Fire Service in 2008, just before my 53rd birthday, having spent over 34 years of operational service at the sharp end on the pumps. I ended up as a Watch Manager in charge of two fulltime appliances and a watch of 11. I enjoyed every minute of my time in the fire brigade. The work was interesting, exciting and unpredictable. You never knew where you were going to be and what you were going to be doing from one shift to another. One minute you might

be sitting in the mess room having a cup of tea and the next the alarms sounded and you were on your way to an incident. It was a fantastic job and I considered myself very lucky to have found a job that I absolutely loved. Like everything, it wasn’t perfect and did have its downside. Over the years I was called to some awful incidents. My worst was attending an accident where two of my colleagues were killed when their appliance overturned en route to an incident. I was part of one of the crews sent to release them from the wreckage, a terrible thing to have to deal with and come to terms with. All of this is leading to the point of my article; what happens when you eventually retire?

Is it something you should look forward to with fear and apprehension or should it be welcomed as something you’ve earned? I think it all depends on your mindset. If you have a positive disposition, you will look on retirement as a new chapter in your life, but if you have a negative train of thought, you will probably think your life is over and it’s just a question of waiting for God! My mindset was positive. I felt that after 34 years in the Fire Brigade, I’d done my bit and earned my pension. I have lots of things to keep me busy; I live on the edge of a nature reserve and am a voluntary warden for Natural England, I edit NARF News and also run the Durham branch. I am


a magistrate, have a part-time job delivering prescriptions a couple of days a week for a local pharmacy, and I play the saxophone, which I find a great stress release. I’m of the school that only boring people are bored and as I said earlier, there’s so much to do out there that no one should ever be stuck for an interest. Just because you retire doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world, or your life. Time is the greatest gift that anyone can give; it’s priceless, so don’t waste it, don’t let the armchair get you and remember positive actions never come from negative thoughts. Think positive and you’ll act positive. Now get out there and do something!



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Imagine one of your workmates was in trouble. Would you help them if you could? Would you expect them to help you?

Donate to The Fire Fighters Charity And you’ll be helping thousands of serving and retired fire service mates across the UK.

WE’RE STRONGER TOGETHER. The Fire Fighters Charity is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 4480058 Charity Reg. No. 1093387. Charity Registered in Scotland No. SC040096. Registered Office: The Fire Fighters Charity, Level 6, Belvedere, Basing View, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 4HG.

Royal Patron Her Majesty The Queen

Shout! Spring 2016