Firefighters blaze a 67km fundraiser trail

By Peter de Graaf

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Kerikeri firefighters near the end of a 12-hour walkathon to raise awareness of their upcoming Sky Tower Challenge, a fundraiser for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer NZ. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Kerikeri firefighters near the end of a 12-hour walkathon to raise awareness of their upcoming Sky Tower Challenge, a fundraiser for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer NZ. Photo / Peter de Graaf

Kerikeri firefighters have clocked up 67km in a fundraising walkathon - all of it without leaving the town's one-way system.

Nine members of the brigade are taking part in next month's Sky Tower Challenge in which 850 firefighters from around the country will race up the Auckland landmark's 1103 steps while weighed down with 25kg of gear. Each brigade also competes to make the most money for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer NZ.

To raise awareness of the challenge - as well as raising money for the cause - members of the Kerikeri Fire Brigade walked around the Kerikeri Rd-Homestead Rd-Fairway Drive loop for 12 hours on Saturday.

Mostly they walked in pairs, with one volunteer wearing breathing apparatus and the other carrying a donation bucket, but at times as many as 10 were pounding the pavement. They clocked up 104 laps or 67km.

Station officer Ben Scott said the walkathon raised $1200, bringing the brigade's tally so far to $14,100.

"The money is a bonus but what we really wanted to do was to get out and show the community how dedicated we are to the cause," he said.

Mr Scott said the walkathon was well supported with some children even donating their pocket money.

One firefighter travelled from Warkworth to join in.

The brigade's next fundraiser would be an auction from 7pm on May 14 at Rock Salt, a bar on Kerikeri Rd.

People would be able to bid on items donated by local businesses such as a skydive, a two-night stay at a luxury bach, a clothes drier and restaurant vouchers.

"There'll be something for everyone," he said.

Other Far North brigades taking part in the challenge include Kaikohe, which won the community spirit award after entering for the first time last year, and Paihia, which won the trophy for most money raised five years in a row.

The event was founded by Tony Scott of Pakaraka.

This year's Sky Tower Challenge is on May 28. Last year's event raised more than $1 million.

- Northern Advocate

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