FUNDRAISING firefighters have been nominated for a national award for their charity efforts in memory of a South Tyneside colleague.
The team from the Tyne and Wear, Durham and Darlington fire brigades will find out today if they have won a Spirit of Fire award.
They were put forward for the accolade after completing a gruelling charity challenge as a tribute to Peter Metcalfe, of West Boldon.
Firefighter and former Royal Marine Paul Thompson dreamt up the challenge in memory of Mr Metcalfe, a crew member at Hebburn fire station.
He died in June 2012, within weeks of being diagnosed with stomach cancer at the age of just 35.
In 2013, a 27-strong team took part in the Scottish challenge and raised £27,500 for the Fire Fighters’ Charity and children’s charity the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
They tackled a 23-mile kayak trip across Loch Ness, completed a marathon to the top of Ben Nevis and finished with a two-day cycle ride back to Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s headquarters in Washington.
Mr Thompson, crew manager at Washington fire station, said: “When our colleague and dear friend Peter Metcalfe tragically lost his life suddenly to stomach cancer last year, we wanted to create a very special event to keep his spirit alive and raise funds in his memory.
“We decided it would be no ordinary event. It had to be an unbearably difficult endurance challenge that people would rather sponsor than take part in.”
Mr Metcalfe’s brothers, Warren and Ian, also got involved in fundraising and held a golf event at Boldon Golf Club last May.
His wife Angela, married to Peter two days before his death, and mother Kathleen also planted an oak tree in Mr Metcalfe’s honour on the day.
Now in its ninth year, the Spirit of Fire Awards are organised by the Fire Fighters’ Charity.