Firewalkers assemble for the hottest challenge in Petersfield

26th September 2019

The FitzRoy Firewalk Festival is only around the corner – and a band of committed firewalkers have united to take on the ‘bucket list’ challenge.

The Firewalk Challenge is taking place at the Queen’s Head in Sheet on Friday 18, October, and we have spoken to a few ‘brave soles’ who are preparing to walk on hot coals to help transform the lives of people with learning disabilities and autism.

Staff from East Hampshire District Council have backed the event, including planning projects assistant, Charlotte Reay. She said: “I heard about the challenge earlier on in the year. We had a charity event at our offices where lots of different charities came in and FitzRoy really stood out to me. That’s when I spoke to community events manager, Jim Apted, and he told me about the Firewalk that was coming up. I loved that the event was completely different to other fundraising events.

I think the reason FitzRoy stood out to me because I know quite a few people who have learning disabilities, and the work FitzRoy does is brilliant.

“I don’t really feel nervous about doing the walk itself – I’m more excited! It’s a real ‘bucket list’ thing for me. I am very intrigued to find out the actual method of walking over hot coals without burning my feet.”

Lisa Clements is also part of the council firewalking team. She said: “I was aware of the work of FitzRoy, being a local charity. However, I think the work of FitzRoy is really valuable, enabling people who require additional support to get on with daily life and enjoy it to the full.

As someone with a limb deficiency myself, I have faced various challenges over the years myself and always found a way of doing things that people told me I couldn’t do. I’ve always believed its ‘ability that counts, not disability’, and FitzRoy embodies this for me!

“I’ve always liked the look of a firewalk and wanted to have a go – I would rather walk on hot coals than Lego.”

And the local support doesn’t stop there – Petersfield gyms Gym and Tonic and Everyone Active’s Taro Leisure Centre have both put together brave bands of firewalkers to walk the hot coals.

David West, Taro Centre general manager, said: “My goal as a a new manager here is to get the Taro supporting good causes n the local community and FitzRoy does a fantastic job looking after vulnerable people locally.”

FitzRoy’s very own Toby Bridle, support worker at Petersfield’s On Track day service, is also taking part. He said: “I decided to sign up because it seemed like a fun and different challenge to do. You wouldn’t have me jumping out of an airplane, but I’ll give this a go.

“Fundraising events like these help the people we support so much; I see a lot of people who come into the day service who may not have had the chance to go out and experience many things. We are able to provide them with experiences they may not otherwise be able to do.”

It’s not too late to become a firewalker yourself, click here to take part in an autumnal evening of music, hot food and the firewalk on 18 October.