Virtual 5k brings firefighters across the country together in memory of crew commander


Release date: 5 May 2021

Firefighters from Haywards Heath Fire Station were joined by colleagues from across the country on Saturday as they took part in a virtual 5K event in memory of their former crew commander.

Saturday marked the second anniversary of Haywards Heath Crew Commander Mark Butler’s death, having lost his brave battle with leukaemia in 2019. Marking the occasion his former crew came together to raise money for The Fire Fighters Challenge in his memory, and were joined by firefighters from Kent and Stornaway who also took part in the virtual fundraiser. So far they have more than tripled their £500 fundraising target.

Two of the crew took to the streets of Haywards Heath to complete their 5k while wearing full fire kit and hazmat suits.

Mark’s son Adam Butler was one of those taking part. He said “We couldn’t be happier with the level of support we received over the weekend. So many people stopped our fundraisers asking how they could donate, which is just fantastic. Special mention must go to Gavin Twinn who masterminded the idea of completing the 5k in hazmat suits with his colleagues and support team after a conversation with an avid fundraiser for The Fire Fighters Charity, which definitely attracted some attention to the cause.

“With COVID restrictions in place it has been difficult finding ways to fundraise over the past year, so we needed to do something a little different to ensure everyone taking part stayed safe and inline with current social distancing restrictions.

“To have firefighters from other services taking part across the country meant the world to us, and we know Mark would have been chuffed to bits to think people were supporting such a worthy cause as The Fire Fighters Charity in his memory.”

Phil Maynard is WSFRS’s Champion for The Fire Fighters Charity. He said: “Like so many other charities, The Fire Fighters Charity has been badly hit by the cancellation of fundraisers during the coronavirus outbreak. So to see the crew come up with a way of continuing their fundraising within the current restrictions is fantastic. They should be incredibly proud of what they have achieved.”

You can support the fundraising efforts here: The page closes on Saturday at 10pm.

You can follow the team on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the handle @bald4butler2020.

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