Release date: 5 October 2021
West Sussex firefighters swapped fire boots for running trainers as they took on the London Marathon.
Group Manager Andy Piller, firefighter Stewart Ellaby and former firefighter Paul Weller all completed the challenge. Together they raised more than £5,800 for causes close to their hearts.
Paul served at Haywards Heath Fire Station, before having to leave in 2012 due to a life-changing ankle injury. He has since had 11 operations and a full ankle replacement.
Three years after having to leave the service, Paul was diagnosed with PTSD following the deaths of his two best friends. The Fire Fighters Charity were able provide counselling, rehabilitation, and continuous support to improve Paul’s health, both physically and mentally.
After originally being told he would never run again, Paul decided to run the marathon – whilst wearing breathing apparatus – for The Fire Fighters Charity. He was able to raise over £2,300 and completed the marathon with a time of 5:22:22.
Firefighter Stewart Ellaby also ran the marathon for The Fire Fighters Charity and finished it in 3:23:55.
Stewart said: “Completing the marathon was an absolutely amazing experience and I feel so proud to have raised over £1,000 for such a worthy cause.
“In the four-and-a-half years that I’ve worked for the fire service, I have attended 14 fatal incidents. Fortunately, I’ve dealt with it okay, but that’s not to say that one day I won’t need to call upon the charity for support.”
Andy Piller, Western Group Manager, chose to raise money for Leukaemia Busters, after losing his best friend Richard Williams to acute myeloid leukaemia at the age of 29 in 2010.
Over the past 11 years, Andy has raised a phenomenal £42,500 for the charity through taking part in various challenges, and his London Marathon efforts have added another £2,500 to that figure.
Completing the 26-mile journey in 3:33:39, Andy said: “As practical as shorts and a t-shirt would have been for the marathon, I decided it would only be fitting to do the run in a Ghostbusters outfit, tying in with the name of the charity.
“Leukaemia Busters is extremely close to my heart and I will never stop doing everything I can to keep Richard’s memory alive and help find a cure for the cruel disease.”