From pole to pole with Uckfield’s brave firefighters

By Ron Hill
By Ron Hill

Uckfield firefighters have set a new world record.

The town team completed 1,105 pole drops in one hour on Saturday. They achieved 6,188 metres (20,301 feet) beating the 5,240 metres (formerly held by Green Watch at Hove Fire Station.)

The pole drop attempt was the major event of a Station fun day held to raise funds for the Firefighters’ Charity. The total raised was £800, added to match-funding from Santander, making at least £16,000 fo r the charity

Among activities were performances from the Uckfield Singers, the Uckfield Performance Ensemble and Vision Tkd.

The pole drop challenge took place between 11am and 1pm. A crew of fire firefighters - Paul Henty, Rick Funnell, Mani Gilbert-King, Jason Pook, George Stonehouse, Steve Ramsey, James Boutle, Ryan Fleetwood-Jones, Simon Harris and Ian Ritchie - completed the task by sliding down the pole more than 900 times an hour. They now claim a new Guinness World Record (subject to verification.)

The day was organised to support not only the Firefighters Charity that helps injured firefighters and their dependants but to help raise funds and awareness of local represented charities to the community of Uckfield. Organisers say there was great support from local people with 21 local charities and groups taking part. Some of them rely purely on donations the local community.

Firecrews said thank you to Mann Scaffolding, a firm which kindly donated the scaffolding that was used for the challenge.

The Waterloo Bonfire Society from Lewes brought their ‘tin can alley’ and ‘hook the duck.’

There was a demonstration from Vision Tkd, a local Taekwondo club, supported and helped by Katinka Blauw, one of of Uckfield’s firefighters, who recently took part in the World Taekwondo Championship in Jamaica where she brought back a Silver and Gold medal.

Inside the Fire Station lots of local charities displayed their activities such as the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research, Uckfield Beavers, Maresfield and Nutley preschools, St Florian, Demeleza, Chestnut tree House, Manor Twiglets, Grove Park School, Chailey Heritage, Uckfield Hospital’s League of Friends, PHAB and Uckfield Volunteering Centre.

Visitors also enjoyed the human fruit machine and games of giant Jenga supplied by Freedom Leisure.

Friendly dogs were brought by Raystede - the charity rescues, rehomes and provides sanctuary for more than 1,500 animals each year and is always looking for people to find new forever homes.

The Air Training Corps was on hand to promote and encourage a practical interest in aviation and the RAF among young people and encourage the spirit of adventure, develop qualities of leadership and good citizenship.

The Inner Man (and Woman) was lavishly fed with a hog roast, barbecue and plenty of cakes. Meanwhile Snoopy the Dog drove his fire engine around the station chatting to children and adults.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY RON HILL