Everest summit beckons for fire crews

VIDEO Firefighters are today preparing to scale new summits for charity by “climbing” the world's highest mountain in Ipswich town centre.

Simon Tomlinson

FIREFIGHTERS are today preparing to scale new summits for charity by “climbing” the world's highest mountain in Ipswich town centre.

Volunteers from the Suffolk Fire Service will traverse a rescue ladder pitched against the Town Hall until they have travelled the combined height of Mount Everest.

They are hoping the public will support the event tomorrow to raise money for The Firefighters' Charity and East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH).

The hydraulic ladder will reach a height of 17 metres, where participants will enter the building and come down the Town Hall stairs before completing the cycle again.

It has been estimated that around 520 climbs will be needed to reach 8,848m - or the “summit” of the world's highest mountain.

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Fire officer Jim Golder, who organised the event, said: “I wanted to do something visual in the town centre that the children and public would love to see. Hopefully people will throw money at us.”

Ipswich mayor David Hale, a former firefighter, yesterday visited the Colchester Road depot where he started his career to watch crews prepare for the event.

Mr Hale has nominated EACH and The Firefighters' Charity as his charities that he will support during his mayoral year.

He said: “It is a wonderful event. As an ex-firefighter, I was asked to support the bid and I hope it captures people's imaginations.”

The fundraiser will take place on The Cornhill at noon, but the fire crews will still be ready to respond to emergencies if needed throughout the day.

And they had fitting preparations for such a situation yesterday when they received an emergency call during the meeting with Mr Hale and had to leave promptly to attend a road collision.

Barring a similar incident occurring tomorrow, it is hoped the challenge will be completed in three to four hours.

Have you scaled new heights for charity? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

East Anglia's Children's Hospices provides respite care for children with life-limiting illness offers support to their families.

The charity needs more than £5million each year, much of which comes from donations.

The Firefighters' Charity provides a range of therapy and support services for firefighters who are injured or for the families of those who are killed on the job.

The charity has three centres in Cumbria, Devon and West Sussex.

It receives no government funding and requires around £9million a year is needed to keep running.

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