Help for firefighters

A NEW national fire therapy service looks likely to be built in Cambridgeshire, The Hunts Post understands. The centre would be the third of its kind in the country, complementing the services for injured firefighters at the Jubilee Therapy Centre in Cumb

A NEW national fire therapy service looks likely to be built in Cambridgeshire, The Hunts Post understands.

The centre would be the third of its kind in the country, complementing the services for injured firefighters at the Jubilee Therapy Centre in Cumbria, and Harcombe House in Devon.

The new facilities are being planned by the Fire Service National Benevolent Fund (FSNBF), which is determined to open a centre in the East of England. Although a final decision is yet to be made, Cambridgeshire is believed to be top of the list for the location and work could begin next year with it opening in 2010.

Fundraising for the new centre is also already underway - seven firefighters set off a charity bike ride on Monday hoping to raise £5,000 towards the costs.


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Each centre specialises in providing free expert therapy to firefighters. There is also a child and family focused therapy programme offering help to their relatives and assisting young people with disabilities.

A spokesman for the FSNBF said: "These centres are essential because they offer support and give firefighters a safety net."

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About 2,000 firefighters across the UK are believed to have been helped by these centres which are funded through donations and cost about £1million to run.

Among the fundraising events is the Tour of the Fire East Challenge. This will see a team of firefighters cycle 305 miles across the region in four days.

Martin Brown, a station manager for Cambridgeshire fire service, will be taking part in the challenge along with Lee Harris, a fire firefighter from Huntingdon, Andy Titmuss and Lee Forster who are both firefighters in Peterborough, Steve Cotton, station manager for fire safety at Cambridge, Mark Bennett-Tighe station manager for East Cambs, and Paul Human, an Ely and RAF Alconbury firefighter.

Martin has used the centres to help with a hip problem caused by the physical strains of the job.

In 2006 he took time off work to visit a rehabilitation centre and is now waiting for a hip replacement. He said: "I've been told I would soon need a full hip replacement - that's a very difficult prospect to think of when you're only in your 40s. The staff at the centre are fantastic. They showed me exactly what to do to make my natural hip last as long as possible."

The bike challenge has been given support from Papworth Specialist Vehicles, a subsidiary of Asset Co plc based in Papworth Everard. Denis Mellon, managing director, has given £1,000 to kick-start the fundraising. The team will cycle past fire headquarters in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Herfordshire and Bedfordshire.

INFORMATION: To sponsor the team visit www.justgiving.com/tour-of-the-fire-east or phone Emma Cousins, on 01480 444558.

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