Oxfordshire firefighters ‘planking’ for armed forces charity

Firefighters in Oxfordshire, past and present, are taking part in an extreme physical endurance exercise over 75 days, raising money for armed forces personnel and their families.

The team of 25 are pushing their bodies to the limit by ‘planking’ – this is a Pilates style exercise using core strength to hold yourself up from the floor.

Appropriately, they began their challenge on VE Day (75th anniversary), meaning the final ‘plank’ takes place on 21 July. They have already raised £2,000.

The team consists of a mixture of both serving and retired firefighters, armed forces veterans, fire and rescue support staff and Friends of the Fire and Rescue Service. All have signed up to doing a five-minute 'plank' on each of the 75 days.

They are raising awareness and funds for SSAFA, the armed forces charity that provides lifelong support to serving men and women and veterans from British Armed Forces and their families.

Kidlington-based firefighter Mick Dunn, who has organised the challenge, said:

“We’re incredibly grateful to all those contributing and supporting us.

“’Planking’ strengthens your spine and various body muscles, so for serving firefighters, not only are we raising money for a very important cause, we’re also improving our physique for when we’re next called on to rescue residents or tackle a blaze.

“We owe a massive dept of gratitude to the armed forces and their families; VE Day 75 was a time of reflection; it motivated our 25 brilliant fundraisers to commit to this unusual challenge.”

Rob MacDougall, Chief Fire Officer, Oxfordshire County Council, said:

“I’m incredibly proud of our ‘planking’ fundraisers.

“As firefighters, we have a very close bond with the armed forces and recognise they are huge part of Oxfordshire’s community.

“It is a fantastic effort! 75 consecutive days is a real physical and psychological endurance test. Our teams regularly encounter challenging situations with courage and professionalism to keep our residents safe, but this one is of their own making. I hope it will raise awareness of the SSAFA charity and that people will want to donate to support this important cause.”

To donate to Oxfordshire firefighters’ ‘planking’ fundraiser for the armed forces charity, visit:

Just Giving: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mick-dunn1966

Facebook Group www.facebook.com/groups/289669932047478

Photos: Mick Dunn (left) and Sam Hitchcock, from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, ‘planking’ fundraising for the armed forces charity.