Blazin’ saddles, and a flamin’ funny night too!

Ready to go: three of the team, from the left, firefighters Ryan Binks, Carl Fielden and James Priestley
Ready to go: three of the team, from the left, firefighters Ryan Binks, Carl Fielden and James Priestley

When a group of Todmorden firefighters clock off their night shift at 8am on Monday morning, July 8, some of them won’t be going home to rest.

Instead, they will be climbing into the saddle ready to bike 650 miles from Todmorden to its German twin town Bramsche with the aim of raising at least £3,000 for three charities.

The marathon ride will raise money for Save The Children, the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and the Fire Fighters’ Charity, and after many months in the planning, they can’t wait to get started.

They have an expected time of arrival in Bramsche, and you are invited to guess it - Grandma Pollard’s chippy at Walsden have sponsored the competition, which carries a £50 first prize, with two more prizes for the next nearest guesses - but the firefighters will be back in Todmorden by July 12 to clock on to their next shift.

Firefighter Ryan Binks, one of the riders, said: “We’re ready for the ride now. We are doing it in stages - it is going to be a continuous ride but with riders paired up, on a rota system. Bramsche firefighters are set to give us a welcome and possibly put us up in their fire station. We’ll be presenting them with some Todmorden fire service memorabilia,” he said.

Watch manager Carl Fielden, who will also be in the saddle, said local schools had already helped with fundraising, with Shade, Walsden and Castle Hill all contributing, and sponsorship and raffle prizes were coming in from businesses in the town.

Another main sponsor is Morrison’s supermarket, Rochdale Road, who will be fuelling the inner man of each cyclist with the gift of some energy foods to help keep them pedalling.

As well as raffle tickets, the firefighters are also selling tickets for a fundraising comedy night at Todmorden Cricket Club, Burnley Road, following their return.

Comedian Pete Emmet tops the bill at the Flamin’ Funny comedy night on Saturday, July 26 (7pm to 1am), with Mick Monroe also on the bill, plus a pie and peas supper, a disco, more music from Roy “Elvis” Potts and the raffle.

Tickets for the entertainment are £15 and are available from Todmorden Fire Station on Stansfield Road, or by calling 01706 813541. Raffle tickets at the same outlet. You can guess the time there too, and at Grandma Pollard’s, Rochdale Road.

The firefighters undertaking the Todmorden to Bramsche charity ride believe the most difficult stages of cycling will actually be the earliest, especially a stretch taking them through Derbyshire’s Peak District.

They will leave England via Folkstone and disembark from their ferry at Calais, and will cycle through parts of France, Belgium and Holland before entering Germany and on to Todmorden’s twin town.