Newmarket firefighters reach new heights for charity

Local firefighters take part in The Ladder Challenge.
Darren Reeve & Rick Clarke organisers of the climb
Picture Mark Westley ANL-161031-165142009

Local firefighters take part in The Ladder Challenge. Darren Reeve & Rick Clarke organisers of the climb Picture Mark Westley ANL-161031-165142009

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Twenty three firefighters from Newmarket proved they were stayers at the town’s Rowley Mile racecourse on Saturday as they climbed a combined total of 19,000 metres for charity.

They were joined by the county’s chief fire officer Mark Hardingham at the course which was chosen as the venue for the effort as this year has marked the 350th anniversary of racing in Newmarket.

Organised in conjunction with the course, which was staging its final meeting of the current season, the event also marked the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London.

The idea was for the team to climb the same distance as all nine of course’s Group 1 races and the historic Newmarket Town Plate put together - a distance of 95 furlongs or just over 19,000 metres.

They were given six hours in which to complete the challenge, but a monumental effort from all those involved saw the team finish an hour-and-a-half ahead of schedule.

Newmarket firefighter, Rick Clarke, who organised the challenge with his colleague watch commander, Darren Reeve, said the day had been a “fantastic success” with around £5,000 already raised for the FireFighters’ Charity.

“There were 23 of us and as one person climbed the ladder, the others were queuing at the bottom and taking it in turns to climb. We were all really tired out by the end of it but really chuffed with how it went.”

And while the challenge was in progress interested racegoers were able to take a closer look at a fire engine, plus a new 4x4 Unimog All Terrain vehicle with a crane attached, which would be used in situations such as equine rescues.

Newmarket racecourses boss Amy Starkey said: “Firefighters risk their lives for the sake of others on a daily basis and therefore we are very keen to work with a charity which exists to ensure regular support, especially for our local community heroes.