Other Service News

Other Service News

Square to Square Charity Cycle Challenge 2008

Holy Smoke – Square to Square Charity Cycle Challenge 2008

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Wow! A group of firefighters from the Isle of Wight are preparing to undertake an arduous 1,400-mile charity cycle ride from Newport to Vatican City in Rome.

The team, based at Newport Fire Station, is aiming to raise £25,000 for the Wessex Cancer Trust, which provides support to cancer patients on the Island.

This charity cycle ride is a continuation of the Square to Square ride in 2005, during which a group of firefighters cycled 1,000 miles from St. Thomas’ Square in Newport to the main square in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. The team raised £12,500 for various charities on the Isle of Wight.


The Wight Extreme Hike, a trek around the Island’s coastline, raised £18,000 for Wessex Cancer Trust in the previous year’s significant fundraising effort. Recently, the Square to Square ride was introduced on Saturday, September 15, at Seaclose Park, Newport, as a component of the IOW cycling festival launch.

Exactly one year from now, the team will reach Vatican City after departing from St Thomas’ Square, Newport, on August 31st, 2008. They will tour the Island, stopping at fire stations en route before departing.

Following a cross-Channel ferry ride to Caen, the team will proceed southwards through France. The most challenging part of the journey will be crossing the Alps before finally reaching the Vatican. “We aim to cover approximately 100 miles each day, which will be quite demanding,” remarked Watch Manager Kelvin Wright, who, together with Fire Control Operator Andrew Cooper, is coordinating the endeavour.

“It is going to take some serious training and there is there is no doubt the hardest bit will be going over the Alps.” The team – a mixture of full-time and retained duty system firefighters supported by four colleagues – will look to stay at campsites along the way.

”We will also be making contact with both the French and Italian Fire Services about the possibility of staying on fire Stations on the route,” said Kelvin.

“When firefighters turn up at a station anywhere in the world, they do all they can to help, so hopefully, we’ll be OK.”  Before setting out, Kelvin and Andrew plan to drive the chosen route to check that it is indeed the best option.

“We didn’t do that last time, and what we thought would be the easiest route turned out to be pretty difficult.  When a ski lift overhead overtook us we knew we weren’t on the flattest route, so we hope to avoid that mistake this trip,” Kelvin said. Fundraising events will be held regularly prior to the big day, and already local businesses are rallying for the cause.

BECO…(”it’s all about marketing”) has been extremely generous in their support in designing and producing all the promotional literature.

Wight Mountain will be supplying the bikes for the ride, one of which will be a main raffle prize, along with cycle equipment totalling £600.

Olivo’s restaurant in St Thomas’s Square, along with the IOW Fire and Rescue Service, IOW Council and Wessex Cancer Trust, are all giving valuable support.


While we now have a marvellous chemotherapy unit at St Mary’s Hospital, there are still a number of treatments that Islanders can only receive on the mainland. This causes distress to everyone involved. If we can buy just one piece of equipment, we can make a difference in people’s lives





Firefighter Challenge

Isle of Wight Firefighters regularly raises money for various local and national charities.

The website firefighterchallenge.co.uk provides details on the challenges that firefighters are undertaking, as well as their efforts and the money raised for charity.

You can donate online for the current challenge to the respective charity/charities chosen to benefit from the specific challenge.

Please give generously to assist the Firefighter teams in their aim of raising substantial amounts of funds for charities and good causes.

We are open to receiving communication from anyone who can provide aid, whether it be businesses interested in corporate sponsorship, donating prizes for raffles, or offering equipment to facilitate the successful completion of a challenge.

To find out more or donate, please click here.