Battle for the Spirit of Fire

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SUPER fit fund-raising firefighters have been nominated for a national award.

A team from Tyne and Wear and Durham and Darlington fire services will find out today if they have won a prestigious Spirit of Fire award.

They were put forward after creating a gruelling charity challenge in tribute to former colleague and friend Peter Metcalfe, from West Boldon.

Firefighter and formal Royal Marine Paul Thompson dreamt up the Strong Arm Challenge in memory of Hebburn firefighter Peter, who died within weeks of being diagnosed with stomach cancer, aged just 35.

In 2013, a 27-strong team took part to raise £27,500 for the Firefighter’s Charity and children’s charity, the Make a Wish Foundation.

Firefighters tackled a 23-mile kayak route along the length of Loch Ness, completed a marathon to the top of Ben Nevis and finished up with two-day cycle ride back to the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service headquarters in Washington.

Paul, crew manager of Washington fire station, said: “When our colleague and dear friend firefighter Peter Metcalfe tragically lost his life suddenly to stomach cancer last year, we wanted to create a very special event to keep his spirit alive and raise funds in his memory.

“We decided it would be no ordinary event. It had to be an unbearably difficult endurance challenge that people would rather sponsor than take part in it.”

Peter’s brothers Warren and Ian also got involved in fundraising and held a golf event at Boldon Golf Club last May. Peter’s wife Angela, who he married two days before his death, and mother Kathleen also planted an oak tree in his honour on the day.

Now in its ninth year, The Spirit of Fire Awards is organised by the Firefighters’ Charity and showcases heroes from the service.