RFS firefighters walk from Sydney to Lochinvar to raise funds for Cancer Council

ON A MISSION: Lochinvar Rural Fire Brigade members Matt Skinner, Martin Whelan, Jeff Jackson and Kim Norton in Cessnock on Friday. Picture: Krystal Sellars
ON A MISSION: Lochinvar Rural Fire Brigade members Matt Skinner, Martin Whelan, Jeff Jackson and Kim Norton in Cessnock on Friday. Picture: Krystal Sellars

A group of local volunteer firefighters will be soaking their feet this weekend when they arrive in Lochinvar on Saturday after completing a mammoth trek from Sydney to raise funds for Cancer Council NSW.

The Fire Fighters Walk For Life group are hoping to raise more than $27,000 from this year’s event.

The trek from Sydney to Lochinvar will take the group a week to complete and they will have covered over 280 kilometres on their journey – pushing a Sulo bin for donations the whole way.

Lochinvar Rural Fire Brigade member Jeff Jackson said the group came up with the idea of the Fire Fighters Walk For Life in 2015, following the loss of a respected local fire inspector to cancer.

“We wanted to do something to help make a difference and within our own brigade we had a few members and their families facing their own cancer journeys,” Mr Jackson said.

The 2017 trek is the longest they have embarked on so far, with an extra 25 kilometres added to their journey.

They have had a great response as they made their way back to the Hunter Valley, with some motorists stopping their cars to make a donation.

The group celebrated the midway mark of their journey with a refuelling barbecue breakfast at the regional Cancer Council office in Charlestown on Wednesday before setting off for fifth day of their journey (which took from Belmont to Sandgate via Merewether, Bar Beach, Nobbys and Mayfield).

The walk made its way to Kurri Kurri on Thursday (via Hexham, East Maitland, Maitland, and Heddon Greta).

The trek continued on Friday through Weston, Abermain and Neath to Cessnock, where the walkers enjoyed morning tea at Exquisite Cakes, before heading off to North Rothbury.

The group is due to arrive at the Lochinvar RFS station at 12 noon on Saturday. A function will follow at the Lochinvar Hotel and all are welcome.

Cancer Council community relations coordinator Clint Ekert said the firefighters have “a heart of gold”, and the work they are funding is helping local cancer patients in the Hunter.

“The crew have all taken leave from their jobs to take part in this walk to raise funds for Cancer Council NSW,” Mr Ekert said.

“All the funds raised by the group will be used for local support services including supporting the local transport-to-treatment service for patients in Maitland.”

If you would like to make a donation to support the Fire Fighters Walk for Life group, please visit firefighterswalkforlife.org.

The group has also organised a charity ball that will be held at Club Maitland City on October 14. Tickets are still available; visit firefighterswalkforlife.org for more information.