Haywards Heath firefighters smash fundraising target with virtual 5K event in memory of crew commander

Firefighters from Haywards Heath Fire Station put on their hazmat suits and fire kit for a virtual 5K charity event in memory of former crew commander Mark Butler.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 6:41 pm

They were joined by colleagues from Kent and Stornaway on Saturday (May 1) to mark the second anniversary of Mark’s death from leukaemia in 2019.

Two of the team took to the streets of Haywards Heath to complete a 5k in full costume to raise money for The Fire Fighters Charity.

Others were encouraged to take part in any location by choosing their own route and completing the challenge by cycling, running, walking or scooting in fancy dress.

Firefighters from Haywards Heath Fire Station and colleagues from across the country took part in a virtual 5K event in memory of former crew commander Mark Butler. Picture: WSFRS

“We couldn’t be happier with the level of support we received over the weekend,” said Adam Butler, Mark’s son, who took part in the challenge.

So far they have more than tripled their £500 fundraising target.

“So many people stopped our fundraisers asking how they could donate,” said Adam, adding that Gavin Twinn came up with the hazmat suit idea after speaking to another fundraiser for The Fire Fighters Charity.

Adam said fundraising has been difficult over the past year because of Covid-19 restrictions.

Firefighters from Haywards Heath Fire Station and colleagues from across the country took part in a virtual 5K event in memory of former crew commander Mark Butler. Picture: WSFRS

He added that he wanted to do ‘something a little different’ to make sure the participants stayed safe and followed the social distancing rules.

“To have firefighters from other services taking part across the country meant the world to us,” said Adam.

He added that Mark would have been ‘chuffed to bits’ to know that people were supporting The Fire Fighters Charity in his memory.

Phil Maynard, WSFRS’s champion for The Fire Fighters Charity, said the charity had been ‘badly hit’ by cancelled fundraisers during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Firefighters from Haywards Heath Fire Station and colleagues from across the country took part in a virtual 5K event in memory of former crew commander Mark Butler. Picture: WSFRS

“To see the crew come up with a way of continuing their fundraising within the current restrictions is fantastic,” he said.

“They should be incredibly proud of what they have achieved.”

People can donate through the event’s JustGiving page, which closes on Saturday (May 8) at 10pm.

People can follow the team on Twitter.

Firefighters from Haywards Heath Fire Station and colleagues from across the country took part in a virtual 5K event in memory of former crew commander Mark Butler. Picture: WSFRS