Hull fire walkers brave the heat for blind charity
HE BROUGHT four packets of Bird Eye’s finest to see him through.
But, in the end, it was positive thinking, rather than frozen peas, that helped Eric Harrod, 71, walk across burning embers.
The Beverley resident was one of 14 people who braved the blaze to hot-foot it across 20ft of embers burning at 1,236 degrees Fahrenheit for charity Hull and East Riding Institute for the Blind (Herib).
“I was just planning to freeze my feet and then basically leg it,” said the Hull charity’s chairman of trustees.
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“I had four – two for the tops of my feet and two for the bottom.
“I was very concerned about doing the fire walk until I spoke to a friend who had done one.
“Just the fact he had done it made me think I could do it too.
“In the end, I didn’t need the peas – I was enormously relieved and elated when I got to the other side.”
The fire walk took place this week at David Lloyd leisure centre in Kingswood, Hull.
The sponsored event saw participants enjoy training exercises, which geared them up for the walk.
Adam Burnan of Blaze firewalking, put the group through their paces, putting them in a positive frame of mind for the challenge.
The group were not allowed any contact with their friends and
supporters before they stepped out to take on the walk and were instead locked in a special training room to get secret top tips for the big event.
Barry McKay, 65, of west Hull, uses the services of Herib and was one of the firewalkers taking part.
Barry became partially-sighted after suffering two strokes and
managed to raise more than £300 for the feat.
He said: “In the training, we were really boosted up and put in a really good mood.
“When I came out, I was geared up and ready to go – the adrenalin was pumping.
“When I was going across, I just switched off and went really fast.
“It felt great to get to the end.”
About £2,630 was raised from the night for Herib, which is based in Beverley Road, but some money is still coming in.
Herib aims to improve and enrich the quality of life for local people with sight loss.
Some walkers did a leap of joy at the end, while others performed a victory dance.
One woman who had reason to
celebrate was Enid Thompson.
Having become partially-sighted and officially registered blind after a stroke, she said living life to the full is her new goal.
Enid, who lives in the blind institute flats in west Hull, said: “When I had the stoke, I had a total re look at my life.
“It was a kick up the bum – you are only here for one life so I’m up challenge to see what I can achieve.”
She said that, since signing up for the walk, she hadn't felt nervous once.
Enid said: “I was just focusing on trying to get as much sponsorship as possible, because it was for such a good cause.
“I wanted to see if I could actually do it – and I could.”
As Enid can only make out colours and certain shapes, when she stepped out of the training room she could only see the glowing orange of the walkway.
She said: “When I saw the embers, I did think that perhaps I had made the wrong choice.
“I saw the sparkly bits and thought it looked very hot.
“I was worried I would burn myself, but it was surprisingly soft to walk on.”
“It was exhilarating to get across –
I was so happy that, even after everything I’ve been through, I can still achieve things.”
The other people that took part were, Laura Crosby, Sheila Skelton, Jill Wright, Tracy Anderson, Enid Thompson, Sandra Ackroyd, Tom Berridge, Luke Cooper, Jessica Woolley, Angela Gregory and Kristian Burke.