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Firefighters on top

Members of Featherston volunteer fire brigade in training for the Firefighters Sky Tower challenge. PHOTO/FILE

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Featherston’s firefighters will be scaling the steps of the Sky Tower today, but in terms of fundraising, they are already near the top.

The Featherston Volunteer Fire Brigade is climbing in the Firefighter Sky Tower challenge to raise vital funds and awareness for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand.

They had raised $10,420 towards their $10,000 goal, putting them 22nd on the leaderboard out of 225 teams.

Team captain Niamh McNamara said they had reached their personal goal multiple times throughout the fundraiser, raising the number each time.

“We have just found out that the challenge itself has raised just over $1 million through all the different outlets as well, so that is awesome.”

Firefighters would endure 1103 individual steps, 51 flights of stairs, and carry gear weighing 25kg before reaching the top of the Sky Tower at 328 metres.

The team of eight had been training hard in preparation, doing walks around the Remutaka Trig Track.

“We use a mix of weights and gear. Fitness levels were pushed, but it was nice to do something together.”

McNamara said the support from the community was overwhelming. The community and businesses had offered spot prizes, donated money and backed the whole operation.

“We want to say a huge thank you to the whole community and to the brigade leadership. They have played a big part in all the support we received.”

The challenge was different from what a firefighter would experience in a house fire, with them being inside for a maximum of 15 minutes before someone else swapped out with them. With the Sky Tower Challenge, participants would be looking at anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.

“It’s a different kind of challenge. It’s more about endurance.”

McNamara said members of the Featherston Volunteer Fire Brigade had an indirect or direct link with people who had used Leukemia and Blood Cancer’s services.

“It’s about realising the value this organisation can bring to people who are suffering.”

The Featherston Fire Brigade start climbing the tower at 8.30am today. A live stream would be available at the KaPai FVFB Sky Tower Crew Facebook page for anyone who wanted to see them tackle the challenge.

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