An autistic boy is about to take on a 133-mile cycling challenge in aid of The Fire Fighters Charity.
Andrew Impey, from Southsea, Portsmouth, will be travelling through Hampshire, Surrey and London stopping at 29 fire stations en route.
His journey will start at Havant Fire Station, on Wednesday, October 4, at 10 am, and end at Barnet Fire Station, on Friday, October 6, at 4.35pm. He will be joined on part of his journey by firefighters including Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Assistant Chief Officer Andy Bowers.
ACO Bowers joined the 11-year-old on a six-station bike ride fundraiser through Hampshire last year.
Andrew said: “I did a 25-mile bike ride last year and wanted to push myself further. “The horror at Grenfell Tower in London earlier this year reminded us all of the kind of dangerous work firefighters do. It’s great to be able to support such an amazing charity and to do it in such a fun way.”
This is part of an epic challenge which started when Andrew Impey – or Dane as he is known on social media – visited a Hampshire fire station on Christmas Eve nearly three years ago. He received such a warm welcome and found the work they were doing so interesting that he immediately fell in love with the fire service. He has since transformed his room into a fire station, has attended expos and conferences and reads trade press from across the world.
After visiting all the stations, and most departments, in HFRS, many several times, he set about visiting all the fire stations in the UK and has already ticked off more than 1,000 and raised £2,000 for charity. He has also visited several stations in Demark, France and the US. He recently visited the Fire Department of New York where he was made an honorary firefighter.
ACO Bowers said: “Andrew’s unwavering enthusiasm for the work we do is remarkable as is his fundraising which is for a cause close to our hearts. “Andrew is very much a member of our fire service family and I am looking forward to joining him on his second cycling challenge.
Andrew’s mum Kirstine said: “It’s great that Andrew wants to raise money for The Fire Fighters Charity. “Over the past few years the fire and rescue community has given so much to Andrew. Andrew’s social skills have improved dramatically. He has also learnt to read and improved his other skills thanks to the support of the fire service.”
She went on to say she would love more firefighters to join Andrew along the route or follow his journey on #OneLadsChallenge
Video link: http://bit.ly/1o900gU
Fundraising link: www.justgiving.com/fundraising
Image shows Andrew and Assistant Chief Fire Officer Andy Bowers on last years fundraising bike ride.