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Community / Fire fighters take to the road to raise funds for charity

The walk got under way at the Baltsound fire station in Unst on 4 May which is International Fire Fighters Day. Left to right: James Tulloch, Iain Macleod and Ewan Anderson.

A GROUP of local fire fighters are well underway walking the isles’ tarmac – visiting all 14 stations in Shetland in the process – as part of a fundraising challenge in aid of the Fire Fighters Charity.

Ewan Anderson and James Tulloch were just past the Nibon junction on their way to Hillswick when Shetland News caught up with them on Wednesday afternoon.

It was their second consecutive day of walking and things were going well, Ewan said, but the 20-kilo breathing apparatus they were carrying between them to make things a little more interesting was getting somewhat heavy.

“Legs are a wee bit sore but me and James are really encouraged by the support we are getting on the road – we even had some members of the public stopping and giving us donations. That’s amazing,” Anderson said.

“We stopped at EMN Plant [at Graven], and they donated £100 which will be helping a lot towards to total raised.

“When we finished walking for the day, we are going back to our homes and we are still on call as retained fire fighters for our community. You just never know when the pager is going to go off.”

The fire rescue service is available to help the community 24/7 and that hasn’t changed during the pandemic, Anderson – who works as a support watch commander with the fire service in Shetland – added.

Ewan Anderson: ‘encouraged by the support we are getting on road’.

However, what has changed during the pandemic is that many of the regular fundraising events in aid of the fire service’s own charity – such as sponsored car washes – couldn’t be held, resulting in this and many other charities coming under serious financial pressure.

“This walk really is about helping the people who help us in a moment of need,” Ewan said.

“The Fire Fighters Charity is always there to support fire fighters be it in rehabilitation of mental health issues.

“So this seemed like something that me and James could do help raise some much needed funds for the charity.”

At the Lerwick headquarters on Sea Road, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service manager for Shetland Matt Mason said Ewan and James came up with the idea of walking between all fire stations in Shetland “to raise the profile”.

“They are putting themselves out there challenging themselves physically in aid of a brilliant cause,” Mason said.

Anderson and Tulloch will be joined by others when time and work commitments allow. Walking slightly more than 20 miles a day, they hope to be able to complete their trek over coming weeks.

After reaching Hillswick they will have to walk a fair bit of the A970 back to Brae as part of their next leg before heading west to Bixter and Walls.

Their walking journey will end at the ferry terminal at Grutness where the breathing apparatus set will transfer to the Good Shepherd to be picked up by colleagues on Fair Isle.

So far around £1,000 has been raised. Online donations can be made via this link or in person by stopping the guys on the road.