Northamptonshire firefighter scoops top spot at gruelling national challenge designed to test physical and mental strength

In full kit, firefighters had to complete activities such as a 200m shuttle run and a 70kg casualty drag

Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 4:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 4:36 pm
Left to right: Aaron Childs, Ben Wilkie, Stef Douglas, Lee Brown, Dean Keeber, Paul Webb, Bec Meachin.

A Northamptonshire firefighter has scooped top prize at a gruelling national competition for the second year in a row.

Aaron Childs, who is a full-time firefighter at The Mounts Fire Station in Northampton, took first place overall, with a winning time of 2.50 minutes, beating the next competitor by less than half a second.

This win means that Aaron, who is not new to the Cheshire Firefighter Challenge, retains top spot for the second year running.

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Wearing full PPE and breathing apparatus, firefighters had to complete eight work-related activities including a 200m shuttle run, a 20m hose reel drag, 20m hose reel pull, 10m foam drum carry, 25m hose roll out, 25m hose make up, 50m hose run and 50m and a 70kg casualty drag.

One hundred firefighters signed up to the Challenge from as far afield as Germany, New Zealand and USA to take on the gruelling competition that tests their physical and mental strength and ability.

Due to the pandemic, this is the second year that the Cheshire Firefighters Challenge has been run virtually at the individual fire stations.

Participants had to film and time each other and send results to event organisers Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Left to right: Aaron Childs and Dean Keeber.

Assistant chief fire officer, Rob Porter, said: “As operational fire staff we are required to maintain a certain level of fitness so that we can carry out firefighting duties effectively and safely.

“We undergo rigorous fitness assessments, but the Northamptonshire team who have participated in the Cheshire Firefighter Challenge have really pushed themselves and should all be incredibly proud of their achievements.”

In total, eight firefighters from Northamptonshire took part in the Cheshire Firefighter Challenge: Stef Douglas, firefighters Aaron Childs, Dean Keeber, Paul Webb, Lee Brown, training instructor crew manager Bec Meachin and on-call firefighters Ben Wilkie and Sarah Damani.

Dean Keeber finished fourth overall with a time of 2.54 minutes and was followed closely by group manager Stef Douglas at 3.27 minutes, achieving 15th place overall.

Paul Webb completed the challenge in 3.29 minutes and was placed 17th on the leaderboard.

The team will now focus on the British Firefighter Challenge being held in October at the Fire Service College in Gloucestershire, where they will compete against 250 other firefighters.

If you would like to support the Northamptonshire Team and help raise vital funds for The Fire Fighters Charity, which supports the health and wellbeing of serving and retired fire service personnel, visit the JustGiving page.