The firefighters of the future missed out on a world record attempt as they took on a gruelling charity challenge in Horsham today.
Dozens turned out to watch 12 new West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service recruits take part in a charity ladder climb and poll drop in the Carfax.
The sun shone brightly and the heat rained down on the team, who are currently 12 weeks into a 14-week intensive training course, making conditions a little more challenging.
In total they had to cover 6,188 metres, around 141 climbs and drops each, in an hour - a record set by East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service earlier this year.
They managed 4,318 falling just short of the target by under 2,000m.
Despite the disappointment, Keith Parvin, training delivery manager for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, said he was very proud of the new recruits.
He said: “I am finding it hard to express how proud I am of them.
“It is really hard work. I would challenge 12 others to beat the record they set today. These are really fit individuals and this was hard especially in this heat.”
Trainee Matt Harris said: “I think we underestimate the challenge. However I think we all came through really well.
“The people who came out to and supported us were amazing, it was what kept me going. The world record was a nice thing to aim for but sadly it was not meant to be on the day.”
But the afternoon was not just about getting their names in the record book.
The new recruits were raising funds for The Fire Fighters Charity, the Golden Lion Children’s Trust and the Keep Connor Active appeal.
“What it was all about was engaging with the community whilst raising money for charities which mean so much to us,” Mr Parvin added.
Trainee firefighter Mollie Bennett said: “The heat played a big part and unfortunately we did not get the world record but the most important thing is that we have hopefully raised a lot of money for the charities.
“As a service we are all about the community. The fact that they were there watching geared you up a bit more and sort of got you through the last ten minutes.
New recruit Lee Smith added: “I am tired but a good tired. All that suffering was for a good cause and I would do it again if I had too.”
Kieran Amos, assisting chief officer for operations at West Sussex Fire and Rescue, said: “We haven’t recruited a long long time and it is a big investment for us.
“When you see the quality of the recruits we have seen today its a good news story.
“We are so proud of them we really are.”
The crews still have two weeks left of their intensive training course. If they pass they will be allocated to stations across West Sussex.
Mr Parvin said he wanted to thank Worth Scaffolding who donated the scaffolding used on the day.
To support the crews visit via https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/WSFRSworldrecord where all the donations will go directly to the charities.
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