Firefighters raise nearly $25,000

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North Otago volunteer firefighters raised nearly $25,000 for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand after their gruelling climb up Auckland’s Sky Tower last Saturday.

The Waimate Volunteer Fire Brigade had six firefighters compete in the challenge and raised $17,168 and the Weston Volunteer Fire Brigade raised $6220 with three competitors.

More than $870,000 was raised during the 10th annual Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge, making it the biggest yet.

Waimate firefighter Dan Mitchell, who competed in the challenge along with Finley Keen, Brad Keen, Stuart Sanderson, Mark Joyce and Ryan Manson, said he was pleased with his time of 13min 58secs as he had taken a considerable chunk off his time from the previous year.

The climb was harder than last year’s because of the heat, but he felt “elation” when he reached the top, Mr Mitchell said.

The brigade had done everything they could think of to raise the money, including raffles and selling hundreds of cheese rolls, Mr Mitchell said.

“We came in about 8th on the brigade fundraiser, which is awesome really, when you consider the district has about 7500 people.”

Weston firefighter Bernie Miller, who competed alongside Wade McNamara and Arden Black, said the climb went well but was very hard.

Mr McNamara had just recovered from the flu and did not manage to complete the challenge as he was suffering from dehydration, Mr Miller said.

Mr Miller said he was “absolutely exhausted” when he reached the top but he was looking forward to trying to beat his time of 14min 29secs next year

“We were just glad it was over,” he said.

They managed to raise more than their goal of $6000 by selling firewood that had been donated to them and by donations from people in the community, Mr Miller said.

Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand is the national charity dedicated to supporting patients and their families living with blood cancers and related blood conditions.

By RUBY HARFIELD