TRAINEE firefighters from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) completed a ‘999’ km charity cycle raising over £1600.

The fundraiser took place in the Market Place Shopping Centre in Bolton on Sunday, December 11, and the team completed the challenge on stationary spinning bikes.

A total of 16 GMFRS recruits rode the symbolic ‘999’ km’s in seven hours, between 10am and 5pm. They finished the task with 45 minutes to spare.

The firefighters were raising money for The Children’s Burns Foundation, which was established to help young people affected by the mental and physical trauma of burn injuries. The affected children are treated at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital which was also a beneficiary of the ride.

The other charity is The Firefighters Charity’s, the function of which is to provide care and support for current and retired firefighters.

The organisation costs £9 million a year to operate.

Andy Knell, Regional fundraiser in North West England, Northern Ireland and North Wales for The Firefighters Charity said: “We get no funding from government, it’s solely down to the support of the public and Fire Service staff to raise this.

“It’s not compulsory for a firefighter or backroom staff member to fundraise or regularly give for the charity, but most do as they know it’s their charity and there to support themselves and their family.”

GMFRS recruits on the bike
GMFRS recruits completing their ‘999’ km

Jenna Cahill, 30 from Oldham, joined GMFRS as a trainee in August. She is due to ‘pass out’ and complete her training on Thursday, December 15, with the rest of this years’ recruits, after undergoing 16 weeks of preparation.

Part of their assessment is to raise money for GMFRS and nominated charities.

She  said: “All the firefighters I know, on and off station, are so charitable and are always doing charity events.

“It’s for the families of the firefighters as well. Even on this course it has affected our loved ones so much because we haven’t been able to see them and they can see how stressed we’ve been.”

The ‘999’ cycling event has so far raised £1,660, and people can continue to donate on their fundraising website.

By Jake Sharpe

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