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Grenfell firefighter heroes raise tens of thousands of pounds

Funds raised will go to projects and groups for those affected by Grenfell

27 April, 2018 — By Tom Foot

Paddington firefighters at the Marathon

FIREFIGHTERS at Paddington and North Kensington ran the 26-mile London marathon on the hottest day of the year – raising tens of thousands of pounds for families affected by the Grenfell disaster – before dubbing charity workers “the real heroes”.

Paddington Red Watch had hoped to raise £50,000 but ended up with more £86,000 which will go to Harrow Club community group and the Rugby Portobello Trust – which helps with rehoming and also counselling and events for children in North Kensington.

Some of the Paddington team walked the length of Sunday’s marathon in full uniforms.

Meanwhile, the North Kensington Red Watch, which was the first crew on the scene at the fire last June, raised a massive £41,000 for Kids on the Green. Their firefighters took turns running with a model of Grenfell on their backs that had been made by schoolchildren.

Firefighter Mike Dowden, from north Kensington, said: “One of most amazing experiences of my life – and I think we’ve needed it. It’s been really difficult. The change in these guys, it’s been really tough.”

Asked about the charity Kids on the Green, he said: “They are plugging away day after day, they are the real heroes.”

Kids on the Green offers a calm space for families, teens and children affected by the blaze. It provides arts and crafts, sports, entertainment and psychological support for the children affected by Grenfell.

Recalling the Grenfell fire, Tom Abell, from North Kensington Fire Station, said: “In the weeks and months since the fire we have grieved with, and stood in solidarity with the survivors and community of Grenfell. Now, in 2018, we would like to help heal and re-build.

“We would love the children of our community to grow up with their lives defined by happy times and achievements, not by tragedy. Please donate and help to make this a reality.”

Race organisers had urged runners to reconsider aiming for personal bests and suggested ditching the fancy dress costumes amid the unseasonably warm April weather.

The temperature peaked at 23.2C – higher than the last record high of 22.7 degrees in 1996.

London Fire Commissioner Danny Cotton said: “I am very proud of these fire- fighters who represent the true essence of what it is to be a London firefighter – grit, determination and the sheer drive to help other people in the face of adversity.”

• Readers can still donate at the Paddington page on www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/a21run4grenfell

Or donate to North Kensington at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/run4grenfellg27

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