A team of firefighters from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) have undertaken a coastal hike to raise money for Redwings Horse Sanctuary, after the charity was also honoured with an award from NFRS to acknowledge six years of partnership working to help with large animal rescue training.

A team of four firefighters, from White Watch at NFRS’ Kings Lynn fire station, carried out a sponsored hike and raised £800 for Redwings, smashing their £500 target. The White Watch team, made up of firefighters Becky Taylor, Jamie Shortland, Doug Walker and Simon Ruff, walked 101 miles of the Norfolk Coast Path, from Great Yarmouth Britannia Pier to Kings Lynn fire station, in four days – staying overnight at fire stations along the way.

“We all have our own reasons for fundraising for Redwings Horse Sanctuary – we are all animal lovers and some of us have horses ourselves or have connections to horses in our past and present,” said Becky Taylor. “Many of the horses we work with at Redwings for our training have found themselves in previous hardship, but thanks to the work of the charity they are now recovered and are even helping educate firefighters like us to help other horses and animals.

“We were super lucky with the weather for the challenge, although it was very cold and we all had very sore feet by the end of the walk! It was a great opportunity to spend time together as a team outside of work whilst doing some worthwhile for charity. We hope to complete another walking challenge next year.”

Since 2017, Redwings has supported Norfolk Fire and Rescue with their animal rescue training, including hosting equine behaviour training with their rescued residents at the charity’s Behaviour Centre.

At the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Annual Awards Ceremony on 24 November, Michelle Lowe, Crew Manager-Trainer, presented Redwings with the NFRS Partnership Award.

“Redwings Horse Sanctuary has been instrumental in allowing NFRS to deliver animal rescue refresher training to all qualified staff throughout the service,” she said. “Not only do the Redwings team provide us with eight days of training to allow our staff to practice their animal rescue techniques, by providing us with real world training facilities, they also include hands on training with their horses, supervised by their team, and a lecture that is delivered by a qualified vet.

“In addition to this, Redwings organise a qualified vet to attend our initial animal rescue courses as well as donating microchip scanners to NFRS. They have also supplied the service with a trailer to allow us to transport our horse mannequin “Brandy” around the county for further training.”

Lynn Cutress, Redwings Chief Executive, said the charity was honoured to receive the Partnership award.

“By sharing their equine behaviour expertise, they are helping to equip firefighters with essential knowledge, especially if they are called on to help free an equine, who would understandably likely be very distressed,” she said. “To the team of White Watch I say a heartfelt thank you – what a challenge and what a fantastic total to raise for Redwings, which will continue to help transform the lives of horses and donkeys in need.”

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