THE first fire crew to arrive at the Grenfell Tower inferno are running a marathon to raise money for children affected by the tragedy.
A team of nine firefighters from red watch at North Kensington fire station will tackle the London Marathon in April as part of a drive to generate £10,000.
Hundreds of heroic emergency responders risked their lives to battle the catastrophic fire on June 14, braving blistering heat, darkness and smoke-clogged hallways to rescue residents from the 24-storey block.
Seventy-one people died in the disaster.
On a JustGiving page created for their campaign, the North Kensington crew wrote: “We were the first crew on scene at the Grenfell Tower fire on the 14th June 2017.
“Alongside our emergency service colleagues we battled to save lives as the worst British tragedy of modern times unfolded within our own community.
“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.”
These brilliant firefighters, who were first on the scene at Grenfell, are running the London marathon to raise funds for kids affected by the fire. Please help them by clicking here https://t.co/zzSpIPNJBr
— Adam Hills (@adamhillscomedy) January 8, 2018
The group are raising money for Kids on the Green, a volunteer organisation set up in the aftermath of the blaze to support traumatised children.
It offers free counselling to survivors and witnesses, as well as activities such as art therapy and entertainment, including discos.
The firefighters’ fundraising page continues: “Overall this fantastic organisation allows children who have seen and experienced the unthinkable to regain a sense of normality and do what kids do best, have fun.
“Everyone at North Kensington Fire Station would love the children of our community to grow up with their lives defined by happy times and achievements, not by a tragedy. Please donate and help to make this a reality.”
David Badillo, who has been a firefighter for 18 years in the neighbourhood, will be one of those running.
The 44-year-old grew up in the area and will be competing in his second marathon.
He posted on Facebook: “The heartbreak will never go away but we want to help heal and rebuild, starting with the children so badly affected by the tragedy.”
Zoe Levack, founder and director of Kids on the Green, said the charity was “absolutely honoured, blessed and humbled” to have been chosen.
The 39-year-old youth worker said: “We will bring as many of the children and their families that we work with on the day to support them.
“We feel quite emotional about it because the fire brigade are heroes in our eyes.
“It’s really exciting and we’ve got nothing but love and support for them.
Ms Levack said the group would be expanding to work with teenagers and provide art classes for adults, as well as family coaching sessions to help parents whose children are coping with trauma.
Donations can be made at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/run4grenfellg27
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