Release date: 22 June 2023
A West Sussex firefighter is to take on the South Downs Way by bike in one night in memory of two former colleagues.
Horsham Black Watch Manager Jamie Cox will set off from Winchester on Friday evening joined by Watch Manager Duncan Thomson from East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and supported by The Muckfield Wheelers Mountain Bike Group.
They will pedal through the night along the 100 mile route across three counties to arrive in Eastbourne on Saturday morning. Jamie previously took on the South Downs Way a few years ago, completing the route in two days. This year he is aiming to complete the off-road journey, which includes 12,650ft of ascent, in one night.
Jamie, who is also a retained firefighter at Haywards Heath Fire Station, is completing the charity cycle in memory of former Haywards Heath Crew Manager Mark Butler who lost his battle with leukaemia in 2019 and Simon Constable, who was James’ Watch Manager when they both served together at East Grinstead. Simon suffered a stroke in 2019.
He will be raising money for The Fire Fighters Charity in their memory, which The Muckfield Wheelers Mountain Bike Group have also chosen as their chosen charity for 2023. Members of the group will be providing logistical support and refreshments throughout the night along with a mechanic from the Electric Bike Shop in Uckfield.
Jamie said: “Mark and Simon were exceptional managers and friends, we were all very lucky to know them. Sadly they were both taken from us far too soon. But the impact of their legacy at both stations, and the wider service, very much lives on.
“As we marked the fourth anniversary of losing Mark and Simon last month we wanted to raise funds for The Fire Fighters Charity in their memory. It is a fantastic organisation that supports both firefighters and their families in their time of need.
“I would like to extend a special thanks to Simon’s wife Suzanne Constable and Mark’s wife Sarah Butler for their support in the run up to this event.
“I am lucky to have a support team to keep me company, fed and watered along the route and to fix any mechanical issues. We are keeping everything crossed for good weather and clear skies.”
You can follow James’ progress on Friday night into Saturday on the Bald4Butler Facebook page or make a donation on his JustGiving page.