Autistic schoolboy completes fundraising cycle challenge

Autistic schoolboy completes fundraising cycle challenge

Andrew Impey, aged 10, raises cash for the Fire Fighters Charity
16 July 2016

More than 50 firefighters turned out to support autistic fundraiser Andrew Impey as he took on a 25.5-mile cycling challenge.

The 10-year-old Hampshire schoolboy visited Southsea, Cosham, Wickham, Portchester, Botley and Eastleigh stations before finishing at the county’s headquarters.

He was joined by a dozen firefighters including Hampshire Fire and Rescue’s Assistant Chief Officer Andy Bowers who followed him along almost the entire route.

Others turned out to see him at the stations or cheer him on as he passed with his procession of cyclists and two fire engines.

The fundraiser collected £250 for the Fire Fighters Charity and celebrated the end of his quest in the drill yard cutting a cake with rescue axes provided by a crew.

He then presented ACO Bowers with a box of bicycle-shaped chocolates.

Andrew said:

“The day went really well. I wanted to raise awareness of what firefighters do, especially the retained firefighters because I think they are sometimes overlooked by the public.

“I think they do an amazing job, not everyone knows all the things they do besides fighting fires.”

ACO Bowers said:

“Andrew has a special place in the hearts of us here at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and I was pleased to be able to help him in the fundraiser – although I struggled to keep up with him at points.

“This latest challenge, and his ongoing efforts to visit every fire station in the UK, is remarkable and shows incredible passion and determination.”

The schoolboy has already raised more than his £999 target for the Fire Fighters Charity stopping off at about 800 venues in his epic quest and transforming his room into a fire station.

He dreams of completing his challenge on his 18th birthday - before starting work for the fire service the next day.

There are about 2,000 stations across Britain but Andrew plans to include emergency services based at airports and those in Ireland.

His journey has spanned thousands of miles starting with those covered by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service before picking off counties on the way up to Scotland.

Fire crews have welcomed the schoolboy, who has documented his travels on Twitter and Facebook, and given him hundreds of trinkets and bits of kit.

He has stored and displayed equipment in his bedroom and even put a fire map on the wall to recreate the look of a station.

Other items bought from fire expos are also on show.

Firefighters from stations in Canada and the US learned about his quest on social media and sent him related gifts.

Andrew, from Portsmouth, has developed an encyclopaedic knowledge of the fire service and even reads the trade press to keep up to date.

His journey started when his parents took him to Havant station on Christmas Eve 2014.

Donations can be made to his JustGiving page.

Fundraiser completes bike challenge