Published: 06:00, 18 July 2021
Firefighters will be getting hot under the collar when they attempt to walk a half-marathon in full kit.
Craig Mulder, 36, is leading the two watches at Eastchurch fire station on Sheppey to raise money for the Fire Fighters Charity.
While half will hit the road, the others will be at Morrisons supermarket at Neats Court, Queenborough, covering another 13.1 miles on a rowing machine.
Dad Craig, who has a 13-year-old daughter, said: "None of us have done anything like this before but we are under no illusions about how tough it will be. I've already tried out the route but that was in shorts and a T-shirt. Our kit weighs about 10kg (22lbs) - the same as a typical car tyre. We think it will take us about six hours to complete the course."
The personal protection equipment includes leggings, tunic and helmet. The only concession they are making is not wearing boots.
Craig said: "I couldn't see us walking 13 miles in those. We'd have blisters after the first 10 minutes. Instead, we will wear walking boots or trainers."
The route will start at Morrisons and take in Queenborough, Blue Town, Sheerness, The Leas, The Broadway, Minster, Sheppey Community Hospital, Halfway Road, Queenborough Corner and the Sheppey ambulance station before returning to the supermarket.
Craig added: "We are looking to make it a bit of a fun day by taking the fire engine to Morrisons so children can look around it. We will also be handing out fire safety advice and holding a raffle." There will be music from the Sheppey FM Roadshow.
All the firefighters at Eastchurch are retained so have other jobs during the day. Craig, a former prison officer, works at Sidcup for the London Fire Service. He said: "We also have a quantity surveyor, a groundsman and a lorry driver covering Eastchurch for Kent Fire and Rescue."
The "fire walk" will be on Saturday, August 28, during the bank holiday weekend. The charity, previously known as the National Fire Service Benevolent Fund, was set up in 1940 to look after the widows and families of firemen killed during the Second World War. To donate visit here.