Windsurfer's payback thanks to his rescuers

A Sunderland firefighter will say a big thank-you to lifeboat volunteers who rescued him by taking on one of the toughest ironman competitions in the world.

Lifeboat volunteers based at Sunderland RNLI, along with the Fire Brigade Benevolent Fund, will benefit from the sponsorship money raised by Bryn Hanson, from Fulwell.

Bryn, 40, was rescued by the RNLI at Sunderland six years ago when he was windsurfing off Seaburn.

His equipment failed in a strong westerly wind and he was very quickly being blown offshore.

He scrambled into one of the boats, which was moored at Whitburn, and was picked up by the Sunderland's D-Class lifeboat.

Bryn said: "I feel it is important to support my fellow emergency service colleagues and especially seen as though I personally have required the assistance of the Sunderland lifeboat and its volunteer crew.

"Also, being a firefighter, the Fire Brigades Benevolent Fund is also an obvious choice for any money I raise by completing this competition."

The gruelling event will take place in Lanzarote, on May 23, when Bryn will have to endure a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26-mile marathon run in the heat of the holiday island.

Bryn, a crew manager based at Fulwell fire station who has worked for the brigade for 19 years, said: "The event starts at 7am and must be completed within 17 hours and I have set my target completion time of 13 hours."

This year will see 1,300 of some of the world's fittest people take part in the event supported by the Canarian and Lanzarote Government, with professional athletes and amateurs racing side by side.

The event has been running annually since 1992 and is an official qualifying competition in Europe for the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii.

Bryn has been helped with the event by Cycleworld in Sunderland and has been completing a dedicated training regime of six days a week. A website has been set up for those people wishing to make donation at www.justgiving.com/brynhanson

Anthony Jobling, crew member from Sunderland RNLI said: "On behalf of the station and crew we are extremely grateful in anticipation to Bryn for any funds raised which the station relies upon to purchase essential kit and fund crew training.

"The station would like to offer the best of luck to Bryn in completing the ironman competition."

Every athlete who wishes to participate in the Ironman Triathlon World Championship has to qualify in Lanzarote. For more information on the event visit www.ironmanlanzarote.com/