Firefighters ride for charity

ALANA DIXON
Last updated 11:39 27/11/2012
Southland Times photo
ROBYN EDIE/The Southland Times
Invercargill firefighters, from left, Anthony Haines and Ian Eunson prepare to leave on a motobike ride to raise money for the Cancer Society.

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Kiwi firefighters, like everybody else, are not immune to the devastating effects of cancer - and they want to join in the fight against it.

A group of a about a dozen firefighters from across the country - including Nelson, Manapouri, and Auckland - this morning left the Invercargill fire station on the first leg of a nationwide motorcycle ride.

The inaugural ride aims to raise awareness and money to prevent the deadly disease.

Senior firefighter Tony Fillnts said the idea for the ride came about after he and his colleagues, in his home region of Auckland, saw the heartbreak cancer left in its wake.

''The reason it all came about was we buried four firemen in Auckland last year. They all died of cancer, all under the age of 50, and we saw the impact on their families. It's just too many firemen in one year, and we wanted to help.''

About 70 firefighters had registered to take part at some point in the ride, which would travel from Invercargill to Auckland.

Those on motorbikes expected to complete the ride in four days, while those on scooters - including him - would finish in about nine.

Joining in on the southern legs, from Invercargill to Queenstown and Invercargill to Dunedin, today were city firefighters Anthony Haines, Ian Eunson and Wayne Muir.

Mr Haines said the reason the group had joined in was simple.

''It's just to do our little part. Even though we're only going to Queenstown slash Dunedin, we thought we'd do what we can,'' he said.

So far they had raised just under $800, but hoped to entice fellow Southlanders to dig into their wallets along the way.

The ride, which was hoped to become an annual event, has so far raised more than $20,000 nationally.

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