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Square to Square Charity Cycle Challenge 2008

Holy Smoke – Square to Square Charity Cycle Challenge 2008

For more details go to http://www.squaretosquare.org.uk

Holy Smoke! A team of Island fire-fighters are to embark on a gruelling 1,400 mile charity cycle ride from Newport to Vatican City, Rome.

The team from Newport Fire station hope the marathon ride will raise £25,000 for the Wessex Cancer Trust to support island cancer patients.

It is a follow up to the Square to Square ride in 2005 when a team of fire-fighters cycled 1,000 miles from St Thomas’ Square in Newport to the main square in the Czech Republic capital of Prague raising £12500 for island charities.

Last year’s major fundraising effort, a trek around the Island’s coastline called The Wight Extreme Hike raised £18,000, again for Wessex Cancer Trust. The latest Square to Square ride was launched on Saturday September 15 at Seaclose Park, Newport as part of the launch of the IOW cycling festival.

In exactly a years time the team will be arriving in Vatican City having left the island on August 31st 2008 from St Thomas’ Square, Newport. They will complete a lap of the Island, calling in at fire stations along the way, before leaving.

After taking a cross-Channel ferry to Caen they will then travel down through France. Then comes the most arduous stretch of the journey – across the Alps – before homing in on the Vatican. “We hope to cycle about 100 miles a day which will be pretty demanding,” said watch manager Kelvin Wright who is organising the effort along with fire control operator Andrew Cooper.

“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 camp sites 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 we were overtaken by a ski lift overhead 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 to the cause.

BECO…(”it’s all about marketing”) have been extremely generous in their support 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.

Whilst 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 which causes distress to everyone involved.  If we can buy just one piece of equipment we can make a difference to peoples’ lives.”



Firefighter Challenge

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

firefighterchallenge.co.uk details these challenges that the firefighters are undertaking, 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 welcome contact from anyone who is able to offer assistance, including businesses who are interested in corporate sponsorship, donation of prizes for prize draws or equipment to assist with completion of a challenge.

To find out more or donate please click here