FIREFIGHTERS completed a punishing 150-mile cycle ride in memory of a much-loved colleague.
The six-strong team took to the road in honour of Paul Barrow, a crew member at Sunderland South Community Fire Station, who died after a brave battle with cancer.
The doting dad-of-two, described by his family as “tough and courageous right until the very end”, passed away surrounded by his loved ones last year.
He decided he did not want to spend his final days in hospital after the gruelling chemotherapy, radiotherapy and three operations failed to work.
Instead, the 38-year-old, who was father to Jack, four, and Thomas, eight, moved in with parents Pauline and Billy who, along with his brother Darren, 32, cared for him until he died on October 14.
Now, members of Green watch at the fire station in Rainton Bridge, have completed a coast-to-coast bike ride from Whitehaven, in Cumbria, to Roker, Sunderland, in memory of the keen fitness enthusiast.
“He was such a nice lad,” said firefighter Andrew Fahey, who helped organise the two-day ride.
“He loved to keep fit and we always talked about doing something like this, but never got round to it.
“We thought it would be a suitable tribute in his memory.”
Funds raised from the trek will also go to St Benedict’s Hospice, based at Monkwearmouth Hospital.
“It’s looking like we’ve raised about £1,200 at the minute,” said 45-year-old Andrew, from Murton.
“We’ve had fantastic support. People have been so generous. We want to thank them all.”
Paul, a former Seaham Comprehensive pupil, from East Shore Village, started his working life when he joined the Navy at 17.
He served on HMS Juno before working in Yeovil as part of the aircraft maintenance team.
He left after five years and after a short stint at Nissan, joined Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.
“He’ll be missed by a lot of people,” added Andrew.
“He was a really popular lad.”
To make a donation to the fund-raising, visit www.justgiving.com/gw-sunderland-south