Firefighters walk 100-mile South Downs Way in full kit for charity

Two firefighters are walking the 100-mile length of the South Downs Way wearing full kit and breathing apparatus to support two charities.

Shaun Challis and Lee Smith, both based at Shoreham fire station in West Sussex, set off from Winchester, Hampshire, on Tuesday for the trek, which is expected to take them four days.

Firefighter charity walk
Firefighters Shaun Challis (right) and Lee Smith set out to walk the South Downs Way for charity (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Along the route, the pair from West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, who are raising money for Martlets Hospice and The Fire Fighters Charity, will be bedding down at Arundel and Shoreham fire stations.

Mr Challis said: “We were looking for something a bit different to do – these days just running a marathon doesn’t really cut it when you’re trying to fundraise.

“So we thought we would step it up a bit and attempt the whole South Downs Way while wearing full fire kit and breathing apparatus, which is about two-and-a-half-stones worth of equipment.”

Firefighter charity walk
The 100-mile trek is expected to take Shaun Challis and Lee Smith four days (Andrew Matthews/PA)

He said they chose the Martlets Hospice because it had helped to care for a friend who died from cancer.

“For me, I lost a really good friend to cancer. He was only 38 and it was all very sudden and took everyone by surprise,” he said.

“But in such a horrible situation, Martlets offered so much support to everyone and I just wanted to say thank you for that.”

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