Forget the Olympics, a team of firefighters have returned home with a clutch of sporting medals.
Louise Ayley, based at Faversham, Emma Reynolds, from Canterbury station, and Cheryl Garland, whose partner, Dave Hulks also works from Canterbury fire station, represented Britain in a series of equestrian events at the World Firefighter Games in Liverpool.
They added to the 161 gold medals already won by the British team who are currently top of the medal table.
Louise scooped gold in the novice dressage, combined training and display team show jumping, where Emma also took bronze.
Cheryl achieved silver medal success in the preliminary dressage.
This was the first time show jumping and dressage featured at the games, which are the biggest multi-sport event for fire service staff.
Emma said: “I’m a keen rider and when I saw that the games were coming to Liverpool, I thought it looked like fun, so convinced Louise and Cheryl to take part as we all own horses and compete at a local level.
“It was a really tough competition and the standard was really high. In each event we were competing against 40 other riders.
“ I competed with my horse Murphy and am really pleased with how well we did in the dressage and display team event.”
Louise said she had exceeded her medal expectations for the games.
“We had a fantastic time and met so many new friends from all around the world,” she added. “It was a great experience, but next time the games will be in South Korea which might be a bit far for us!”
The games, held every two years, are open to all firefighters and their partners. Six thousand competitors from as far afield as New Zealand, South Africa and Thailand took part.
It is a non-profit making event, and is expected to have raised £100,000 for charity, with funds mostly raised from competitors’ contributions.
The money will be split equally between seven chosen charities including the Fire Fighters Charity – formally the Fire Services National Benevolent Fund – the Burned Children’s Club and Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.