Northern Beaches firefighters are raising money for kids with burns over a gruelling five-day event.

The fund-raising event to be held over five days from 11-15 March is called ‘Beat The Burn’, and will see firefighters from NSW and ACT take part in a series of outdoor challenges, including running, mountain biking, hiking, swim and paddle craft, and road cycling, at Jindabyne, near Kosciuszko National Park.

400in4 charity bike ride

Beat The Burn has evolved out of the ‘400in4’ four-day bicycle ride, which has been held since 2006. Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Narrabeen Station Officer Brett Butler (main image, left), who has been involved with the event for 14 years, said the change was to give more firefighters opportunities to be involved.

“Originally it was a bike ride from Campbelltown to Wagga Wagga. Since then, we have changed where we ride and how we ride and the destination. This year, we are based at Jindabyne and have a few events over five days, we’re doing road and mountain bike, running, hiking and paddling.

“The name has changed to be specific about where the money we raise goes, the Children’s Burns Unit at Westmead. The Burns Unit is actually designated as FRNSW Station 002.

“I started riding in 2009, which is fourteen years. I love doing it, we do it for the kids. When you visit the kids in the Burns Unit, it’s a real eye-opener,” said SO Butler.

Beat the Burn - Brett Butler and Ian McDougall

Beat The Burn is a public appeal, with FRNSW officers out and about ‘shaking the bucket’ to raise money, as well as seeking sponsorship for their five-day effort. What is less known, however, is how significant firefighters direct contributions to the Burns Unit are.

“More than 2,800 firefighters give a fortnightly deduction from their pay to the Burns Unit. I give $20 per fortnight,” said SO Butler.

Beat The Burn has support from the top, with new FRNSW Commissioner Jeremy Fewtrell recently praising the efforts of SO Butler, and even joining the fund-raising efforts himself by ‘shaking the bucket’ at Central Station.

Participation in Beat The Burn comes at a direct cost to firefighters, who ‘guarantee’ a minimum donation fee of $250 per day. If they do not fund-raise at least that amount, they cover the difference from their own pocket.

Beat the Burn - Ian McDougall

Four firefighters from Narrabeen Fire Station are currently registered to participate in Beat The Burn — Station Officers Brett Butler and Lachlan Arnold, as well as Senior Firefighters Glenn Lovelace and Ian McDougall (image above).

The efforts of firefighters have raised over $1.2m for the Burns Unit at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. If you would like to follow the leaderboard and support the team from Narrabeen Station, donations can be made at the Beat The Burn website.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate, Beat The Burn

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