Meet AF&RS’ new recruits as they scale Everest

Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) is delighted to introduce 16 new recruits who will be attempting to scale Everest this Saturday (20/07).

The team of 14 men and two women, who are all aiming to graduate from training school next month, will be attempting the feat in Cabot Circus to raise money for the Fire Fighters Charity.

Having only joined in May, the group of new recruits have already thrown themselves in the ethos of AF&RS and have begun to help the community outside of life in the fire service.

They will be taking to Cabot Circus in full gear and breathing apparatus in an attempt to scale the ladder a whopping 1,008 times to hit the 8,848-metre height of Everest.

Starting at 10am, they are hoping to complete the distance in around six hours with each recruit scaling the ladder around 63 times.

Hannah Chorlton, previously a dog walker, who will be joining Red Watch at Patchway fire station, said: “It’s great to contribute to the Service’s key charity at this stage in my career.

“The charity provides important support to those within the service and their families and it will be really rewarding for us to help fund their services.

“It will be a tough challenge so please come along to support us and say hello to Fido the fire dog.”

Rich Wheeler, a Crew Manager at Avonmouth fire station and charity lead across the Service, helped the new recruits set up the fundraising following previous achievements. He is the driving force behind AF&RS’s charity team and has organised a number of challenges over the years to raise money for various causes.

Having recently taken part in the dragon boat race and 150-mile walk that saw eight firefighters visit every station in just 60 hours, he is delighted to see the new recruits lend a hand.

He said: “Avon Fire and Rescue Service does a lot for the community and judging by this effort so early in their careers, the new recruits will fit in perfectly.

“They will find that being part of AF&RS charity team is a great addition to the already highly respected firefighting role. Being a part of the team is a great honour and privilege and we strive to push ourselves in everything we take part in.

“We regularly meet the core values of Avon Fire and Rescue Service through these ambitious and courageous events, all of which benefit the communities that we live and work amongst.”

With retreats across the UK, the Fire Fighters Charity helps all firefighters and their families with mental, physical and social wellbeing issues that can arise in their line of work.

Paul Coomber, previously an Airport Firefighter and joining White Watch at Bath fire station, added: “It is going to be a very fulfilling experience raising money for such a good cause. Having utilised their incredible services in the past when I needed them, I have personal experience of the vital support that the Fire Fighter’s Charity provides.

“I am delighted to be able to support them through events such as these.”

Anyone is welcome to pop down and meet the new recruits, who will be at Cabot Circus all day during the Harbour Festival, and there will even be a guest appeared from the AF&RS mascot, Fido the Fire Dog.

Those wishing to donate can do so via https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/everestclimb-wt1-19

Thanks to the ‘Yes You Can’ campaign, a social media drive and targeted events, AF&RS received just under 1,000 eligible applications in 2019 for just 16 spaces.

Having passed a rigorous selection process, the recruits have undertaken a packed schedule in which they have been taught the technical and practical skills required to become a firefighter.

This has included safe working at height, water safety, breathing apparatus, hazardous materials and road traffic collision procedures.

The recruitment of new wholetime firefighters comes as AF&RS commits to making its communities safer and Service stronger.

Nell Long-Moore, having been a dedicated full-time mum for the last two and a half years will be joining Green Watch at Patchway fire station.

She added: “I’m very excited to be starting my new career with Avon Fire and Rescue Service and to be a good role model for my son.

“Due to the nature of the work we do, it is reassuring to know we will have the support of the Firefighter’s charity should we need it, and seeing what they have done to help firefighters in the past, I am delighted to be able to give something back.”