Firefighter's 100-km walk for disabled girl helps fund new walking machine

A little girl will be getting a new piece of equipment to help her walk thanks to a Shropshire firefighter's overnight marathon effort.

Ross Underwood walked 100km in 24 hours
Ross Underwood walked 100km in 24 hours

Ross Underwood, 39, raised £1,418 by walking 100km in under 24 hours, which helped the family of six-year-old Amélie Holden get the £28,000 needed for an Innowalk, which will help her get around despite her various disabilities.

"I had to stop a couple of times to pop all the blisters and dry them off," said Ross, from Hodnet, who is a retained firefighter and gardener at Hodnet Hall Garden.

"I was on firefighter duty on Saturday helping to provide cover for Shrewsbury and ready to do whatever was needed of me," he said. "But I was hobbling a bit."

Ross found his first 50km a breeze after starting at 9.15am on Friday, but he said between 1am and 2am on Saturday was "horrible".

Luckily his wife Lucy, 42, and their daughters Winnie, aged nine, and Tilly, seven, were there at the fire station to provide encouragement. Winnie made a poster saying "Go, Daddy, Go" while slightly older Tilly's creation urged him to "Pick Up the Pace".

Ross Underwood walked 100km in 24 hours

Fire station watch manager Phil Benbow and his friend Steve Saddler were also crucial in getting him to 5.45am on Saturday when he reached the 100km mark.

"Without all their help and encouragement I would not have been able to do it," said Ross.

Ross is an old school friend of Amélie’s mum Ros, who lives in Northumberland. Her daughter has multiple disabilities which leave her unable to walk, talk or feed herself due to an undiagnosed syndrome.

She is known as a SWAN (Syndrome Without A Name), she usually gets around the house by bunny-hopping and communicates by vocalising different noises.

Ross's efforts and the family's own £29,352 fundraising will enable them to buy an Innowalk – a machine like a cross-trainer. During the six-week trial, she walked 118km – her personal best being 8km in just two hours. It will help her keep active and prevent muscle wastage.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News