Honour for firefighters who raised funds in memory of colleague

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A team of firefighters who competed in a series of gruelling challenges in memory of a colleague from South Tyneside have been recognised with a national award.

The StrongArm challenge was launched after the death of Peter Metcalfe – a firefighter based in Hebburn.

We wanted to create a very special event to keep his spirit alive

Paul Thompson

Mr Metcalfe, who lived in Boldon, lost his battle with cancer in 2012, aged just 35.

The challenge saw firefighters from Tyne and Wear, Durham and Darlington join forces to raise about £60,000 for the Firefighters Charity and the Make a Wish Foundation.

The first StrongArm took place in Scotland in 2013 and last year the original team, along with several new faces, returned for a new challenge in the Lake District.

On consecutive days they swam eight miles in Ullswater, completed a mountain triathlon and took part in the Total Warrior 10-mile assault course, carrying a paraplegic team member, before cycling 100 miles home.

Their efforts were recognised at The Spirit of Fire Awards hosted by the Firefighters Charity, where they were named Team of the Year.

The awards recognise acts of courage and bravery of firefighters and members of the public as well as dedication to The Fire Fighters Charity.

Watch Manager Paul Thompson, from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “When our colleague and dear friend Peter Metcalfe tragically lost his life suddenly to stomach cancer, we wanted to create a very special event to keep his spirit alive and raise funds in his memory.

“Thanks to all the organisational work by people like Carl Stephenson and Peter’s brother, Warren, it has been a bigger success than we could have wished for. And winning the Spirit of Fire award is a great honour for everyone involed.”

Warren Metcalfe, who has taken part in and helped to organise the challenge events, is a firefighter with County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service.

He said: “I would like to thank everyone who trained so hard and pushed themselves to the limit to raise funds for two worthy causes in memory of Peter. Our support team was fantastic and we couldn’t have completed the challenge or received this award without them.”