Over 40 participants from the Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service-led team recently took on the fourth Stu's Phoenix Challenge. This heartening event, held in memory of their cherished former colleague Stu Crebbin, also raises funds for The Fire Fighters Charity.

Stu Crebbin, a figure loved and admired by many, tragically lost his life to cancer in March 2021 at the age of 46, after a year-long battle. Stu's heroic spirit continued to burn bright in 2020 when, in the midst of intense chemotherapy and immunotherapy sessions, he took on The Brecon Beacons 10 Peaks Traverse (East to West) with his Phoenix Challenge team, completing most of the gruelling challenge.

For the past two years, Hereford Crew Commander Spencer Jones and his colleagues have honoured Stu's memory by taking on the same trek but in reverse – from West to East. This year's event, however, saw a shift in direction to the shorter but no less challenging Bannau Brycheiniog Horseshoe route in Wales, spanning approximately 12 miles. The decision allowed for broader participation, opening up to staff from four services, fire cadets, serving and retired firefighters, partners, children, and even a couple of enthusiastic canines.

Despite battling humid conditions and thunderous weather, the troop prevailed, completing the hike in high spirits. "The weather certainly tested us, but everyone completed it in high spirits," shared Spencer, who also revealed that the Phoenix Challenge had so far raised nearly £25,000.

Planning for next year's event is already underway, with Spencer hinting at a new theme combining cycling and canoeing, aiming to include an even wider audience. He said, "This will further include a yet wider audience wishing to take part in memory of Stu.”

Although Stu's Hartlepool-based family couldn't join this year's event in Wales, they have lent their support to the challenge in past years. The challenge continues to accept donations and sponsorship via its live JustGiving page at justgiving.com/page/stu-s-phoenix-challenge-2023. The funds raised will contribute to the remarkable total that the Phoenix Challenge has achieved over the years, furthering Stu's legacy of strength and unity.