Fire chief takes on Cheviots challenge

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Chief Fire Officer, Paul Hedley, presents a cheque to Mind.
Northumberland Fire and Rescue Chief Fire Officer, Paul Hedley, presents a cheque to Mind.

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Chief Fire Officer, Paul Hedley, is taking on a number of Chief’s Challenges to mark his landmark 50th birthday, while raising money for Tyneside and Northumberland Mind.

Paul decided his first challenge would be the Cheviot 2000, a 40km trek to climb all the Cheviot hills and spot heights more than 2,000ft in 12 hours, which he completed in July and raised over £1,290 for the mental health charity.

He said: “As a member of the Fire and Rescue Service, I am incredibly proud of the work we do everyday to improve and save the lives of those who live, work and visit our communities.

“Inevitably, there are occasions when tragically we must deal with deeply upsetting and traumatic events and at those times we simply cannot always close ourselves off and make ourselves immune to the impact of the sights, sounds, smells and emotions of those incidents.

“The mental health and welfare of fire service and other blue light responders, cannot be something which is stigmatised, ignored or taken for granted. Their mental health matters.

“I chose to raise funds for Tyneside and Northumberland Mind because I know how valuable and important their Blue Light programme for emergency service personnel is. Thousands of staff and volunteers across these services have actively challenged mental health stigma, learnt more about mental health and made positive changes to their approach to wellbeing with the support of the programme.”

Anne-Marie Ianzito, Blue Light coordinator from Tyneside and Northumberland Mind, said: “Tyneside and Northumberland Mind is very grateful to Paul Hedley and Northumberland Fire and Rescue for this generous donation.”

She added: “Northumberland Fire has been a strong partner of Tyneside and Northumberland Mind’s Blue Light project since April 2016 and has dedicated Blue Light Champions who have fought tirelessly to reduce stigma around mental health and put the discussion of mental wellbeing on the table.”

If you want to find out more visit www.tynesidemind.org.uk/help-support/blue-light-programme-supporting-our-emergency-services