LIFESAVERS have set themselves a mountainous fundraising challenge involving a former Warrington firefighter who is paralysed from the waist down following a freak accident at a gym.
A joint team of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service firefighters and International Search and Rescue Team members have vowed to push Vicki Griffiths up the highest mountain in Wales on Friday September 6.
The 33-year-old broke her back and damaged her spinal cord at the gym in March 2017 when she was a member of the on-call crew at Birchwood Fire Station.
The mum-of-two lost her footing as she was lifting 130kg on a squat rack.
She was in hospital for three months and her house and car had to be adapted so that she could return home.
Firefighters have completed a range of fundraising activities to help pay for all the changes, including car washes and cycling to every fire station in Cheshire.
Assistant Chief Fire Officers Alex Waller and Gus O’Rourke even had their heads shaved to raise funds for Vicki, as did Craig Frost, a volunteer gardener at Birchwood Fire Station.
Made by Gary Senior in the fire service’ workshop, a bespoke chariot will be used for the latest fundraising challenge.
Vicki will sit in the chariot’s seat, donated by Wrexham-based motorsport products company Demon Tweeks, as the team attempt to push it along the Llanberis Path to the top of Snowdon, which is 1,085 metres above sea level.
Runcorn and Widnes fire stations’ manager Stuart Devereux, who is organising and will take part in the Snowdon challenge, said: “What happened to Vicki hit everyone hard at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.
“We are one big family and Vicki, a popular member of the on-call crew at Birchwood, will always be one of us.
“Following her accident she is no longer able to work as a firefighter, but she now works at Safety Central, our interactive lifeskills education centre in Lymm.
“Vicki is incredibly resilient and since coming home to her two sons from hospital she has been determined to live her life to the full.
“We have helped Vicki and her family along the way with various fundraising activities and offered to raise more funds for them via the Snowdon challenge.
“But she wants the money raised to instead go to The Fire Fighters Charity, the UK’s leading provider of services that enhance quality of life for serving and retired fire service personnel and their families, and Classrooms in the Clouds, which support sustainable education for children in the poorest regions of Nepal.
“The group of 12 people taking on the Snowdon challenge are determined to complete it and to raise as much money as possible for these two fantastic charities.”
Vicki added: “I am grateful for all the help and support that firefighters and staff have given my family and I since my accident. The money they raised has enabled me to move on with my life and it is now my turn to be a part of a fundraising challenge, as opposed to the beneficiary of them.
“I am really looking forward to going to the top of Snowdon, something I thought I would never be able to do following my accident, and I urge people to donate what they can for the challenge and The Fire Fighters Charity and Classrooms in the Clouds.”
To make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/teams/CheshireFire.