Well everyone, I think it’s safe to assume that winter has arrived….. The trees are bare, the days are short and my goodness it’s cold!
However, none of this could deter our brave fundraisers who, on Saturday, undertook a truly astonishing challenge when they completed a formidable Firewalk to raise money to help us grant more magical wishes at Rays of Sunshine.
When we arrived at Cannons Park on a bright (but very chilly) afternoon, our brilliant challenge events fundraiser, Jo, was already there with the Firewalk UK team setting up the area and making sure everything was prepped and safe. Volunteer Sharon and her team were also at work, setting up a hot drinks stand…and believe me, we were going to need a lot of those given the weather!
Meanwhile, over in the church hall of St Lawrence’s the room was ready for our fire-walkers to receive their training from Scott, Firewalk UK expert and veteran fire-walker. With everything set up we were ready to welcome our fire-walkers!
Now, I would love to tell you how you go about preparing people to walk over hot coals, but unfortunately the training was top secret! So we left our fire-walkers in Scott’s excellent care and headed back to the park to put the finishing touches to the set up and get ready to cheer them on.
The Sun had now set, the fire was lit and… I can’t lie, dear readers, it did look daunting! Before it was alight it looked much less intimidating and I had been reassuring some of our fundraisers that it really didn’t look too long – just a few steps, it would all be fine…now I was wondering whether I’d have to take back those casual words!
As our fundraisers made their way over, there were some familiar faces top be seen… our very own Caroline (Wish Manager extraordinaire) braved the fire herself, along with Melissa our amazing volunteer and organiser of our hospital activity days. Our superstar CEO, Jane, also faced the heat and even managed to persuade her husband and eldest son to join her!
The big question running round my head was:
“Why on earth would anyone sign up for this?”
A question I’m sure a few of you are asking and which I feel is best answered by Wish Manager and Firewalk conqueror, Caroline:
“I seem to have a habit of agreeing to things and then instantly regretting signing up to them (last year’s highlights included spending a day in the office dressed in a 5 year old’s star costume, and challenging a colleague to a mince pie eating contest). This year, it happened to be the first ever Rays of Sunshine Firewalk. Knowing next to nothing about what this would entail, I naively made a comment in a team meeting about whether this challenge would be 5km or longer? Safe to say that sealed my fate. And so, on the coldest night of the year so far, I found myself standing alongside Jane and Melissa, about to brave the 669 degree coals. After some expert training from Scott at UK Firewalk, where ‘mind over matter’ was the mantra, each one of us strutted across our fiery catwalk without any hesitation and were instantly rewarded with a snazzy medal and certificate. Most of us enjoyed it so much, we queued up again for round 2. It was a strange sensation to describe, but in no way painful and all 300 toes that took part survived a sizzling. For me, the experience was made all the more special as I finally met the amazing Mum of one of my previous wish children whose wish we granted last year. She was also taking part and proved vital in reminding me to roll my jeans up at the last minute! If anyone is up for a challenge that involves an hour’s training, is considerably less physical than any marathon and leaves you feeling like you can conquer anything…even if it’s just the tube journey home smelling worse than you ever imagined, then a Firewalk is for you!”
This is almost enough to make me want to sign up to next year’s Firewalk! who knows, maybe I’ll be brave enough…for now though I’ll stick to telling you all how amazing our Fire-walkers were and how incredibly grateful we are for their support.
On behalf of everyone at Rays of Sunshine – thank you, Team Firewalk, for being brilliant and brave and for helping us to continue making magical memories for the bravest and most brilliant people we know, our wish children
If you would like to sign up for next year’s firewalk, please visit: