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Sudbury firefighters' fundraising sea voyage for Macmillan Cancer Support in memory of colleague Steve Simmons



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A team of firefighters will channel the memory of their long-time friend and colleague, when they set off on a fundraising voyage from Sudbury to the coast later this month.

Thirteen crew members from Sudbury Fire Station will embark on a 24.5-mile journey down the River Stour on the morning of May 28.

Travelling in canoes and kayaks, the team will stop off in Nayland, in a camping field provided by colleague Jenny Taylor, before resuming their journey to the end of the Stour at Cattawade the next day.

Firefighters from Sudbury Fire Station will be kayaking from Sudbury to the Sea to raise money for MacMillan Cancer Support. Pictured: Melissa Kilkey, Nicola Edge, Josh Stainton, Lee Parkins, Jake Booth, Russell Grimsey, Greg Andersen and Leigh Martin. Photo credit: Richard Marsham.
Firefighters from Sudbury Fire Station will be kayaking from Sudbury to the Sea to raise money for MacMillan Cancer Support. Pictured: Melissa Kilkey, Nicola Edge, Josh Stainton, Lee Parkins, Jake Booth, Russell Grimsey, Greg Andersen and Leigh Martin. Photo credit: Richard Marsham.

The group will be tackling the challenge for Macmillan Cancer Support, in honour of their late friend Steve Simmons.

A 33-year veteran of Suffolk Fire Rescue and Service, the father-of-two – known by his nickname of ‘Simmo’ – died at his home in Sudbury last August, at the age of 58, following a short battle with cancer.

Firefighter Lee Parkins, who is organising the Sudbury Fire Station to Sea fundraiser, worked alongside Steve for over four years.

Stephen Simmons died in August last year at the age of 58. Contributed picture
Stephen Simmons died in August last year at the age of 58. Contributed picture

“Simmo was a veteran and always had a good story,” Lee told Suffolk News. “A lot of people have said this, but he was probably the nicest guy you could meet.

“He was just a great guy and he looked after everyone. It was tough for everyone at the station to lose him. I had known him for four-and-a-half years, but some people had known him for the duration.

“It hit us all pretty hard, because one week, he was still there on our fire engines, and about three months later, he was gone. It was all very sudden.

“We do a lot of charity events at the station, usually for The Firefighters’ Charity, but we wanted to do something as a bit of a bonding session as a station, so we thought it would be good to spend that weekend remembering Simmo.

“We’ve never done anything like this before. Half of us have never even owned or been in a kayak before, but we’re all looking forward to the challenge.”

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