The Carfax in Horsham was sizzling on Friday night (13 March) when more than 80 people walked across fire to raise money for St Catherine's Hospice.
Crowds were entertained with fire dancers, a LED light show, and music whilst brave 'soles' taking part had a briefing from UK Firewalk staff. They shared their top tips for successful firewalking, before people hot-footed it across 15 foot of red-hot embers.
Amongst them was Kelly Petch. She said: "Wow, what an experience the Firewalk was! It was exhilarating, challenging and terrifying all at the same time, but I didn't feel a thing. It just felt like walking on gravel. The sense of achievement is phenomenal. And I'm really proud of my son Lochlan who did the Lego walk too. He said it felt prickly and he loved everyone cheering him on! We raised over £500 for St Catherine's who gave care and support to my Mum in her own home when she needed it most. As a family we'll be forever grateful to St Catherine's and will continue to help raise money to aid their amazing services."
Kevin Uphill from Avondale also took on the challenge. He said: "I've done a few things for charity over the years from a parachute jump to marathons and cycling, but when a colleague elected me for the St Catherine's Firewalk, I felt far more trepidation! St Catherine's helped my Mum in her final months and were the sole reason my Dad was able to cope with her at home right to the end. She had a lovely home, and her being there was how it should be, but it wouldn't have been possible without St Catherine's, so I wanted to support them. Armed with a great cause, myself and my Co Director Tim Hardman set out to fundraise for our Firewalk challenge. We soon found ourselves with £2,580 in donations, thanks to some amazing donors, yet still no idea how we would complete it! On Friday we turned up after a very busy week at work to see a burning fire pit. After a detailed safety talk we faced the flames. The first step was the hardest, it felt totally unnatural and illogical, yet the science protected us. Before I knew it, I was across the line, feeling pretty smug, and very grateful to be able to help such a fine cause."
As well as the main Firewalk, brave under 18s faced a tough challenge of their own, braving a pit full of Lego bricks barefoot.
Fran Palliser, Event Projects Fundraiser at St Catherine's said "We'd like to thank everyone who braved the flames, Lego bricks or came out and supported our Firewalk on Friday evening. It was a brilliant night and it was humbling to watch people pushing themselves outside of their comfort zones to raise money to support terminally ill people in their community.
For many people St Catherine's has supported someone they know - a family member, friend or neighbour. At the moment, for every person we care for, there are two others who need us who we can't help. This is something we're determined to change. Thanks to the support of our amazing Firewalkers we're one step closer to being able to support more people."
The Firewalk is on target to raise an incredible £25,000 but it's not too late to donate. If you would like to support the event and local terminally ill people you can donate online at: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/stchfirewalk or to find out how you can take on a future challenge for St Catherine's yourself please visit: https://www.stch.org.uk/