Ann-Marie Knegt, editor of Fire and Rescue and LAPV Magazine, will be cycling from East Malling in Kent to Bruges, and ride from Ghent to Bruges and then back to Ghent again, in order to raise money for Operation Florian, a UK-based fire service humanitarian charity working to promote the protection of life amongst communities in need, worldwide, by the provision of equipment and training to improve firefighting and rescue capabilities.
The ride will take three days (May 12-14) and the route stretching over 170 miles and with some tough challenges to be faced during all stages.
During the first day, Ann-Marie a team of 34 riders from the municipal fleet industry will be crossing the Kent Downs on their way to Dover, where they will catch the ferry and sail to Dunkirk. From there on they will head straight for Bruges. It is safe to say that all cyclists are hoping to have the wind on their backs during that stage. On the last day Ann-Marie and the group of riders will leave Ghent, and ride on to Bruges and then back to Ghent. They will finish their journey in the centre of the city at the Botermarkt beneath the famous Belfrey, after which they will enjoy a well-deserved Belgian beer.
Ann-Marie chose to raise money for Operation Florian, because as editor of an international firefighting magazine, she often receives requests for help from firefighters from less fortunate areas all over the world and has forwarded many of these to Operation Florian over the years.
Amongst other things, Operation Florian reconditions old fire engines to full working order and sends them to the places on the planet that need them most. Recently the charity also became involved in firefighting training and fire safety awareness in refugee camps, since fires are a massive issue in these cramped and very unsafe environments.
Operation Florian also sends out training crews to ensure that the people who will be using the equipment are fully trained and ready to do their job – save lives.
Ann-Marie is very excited to raise money for Operation Florian. ‘This amazing charity consists purely of volunteers, firefighters and fire service staff, so none of the raised money will go towards the salaries of CEOs. By making a donation people will help not just fire services in deprived areas all over the world, but their communities as well. Your donation will go very very far.’
Operation Florian is currently working in:
Ann-Marie continued: ‘Many fire brigades in deprived areas worldwide lack basic infrastructure as well as the equipment to do their job and protect their communities, and at the same time they have limited access to training and PPE. In this manner, I can do something to support my readers worldwide.’
Steve Jordan, a Station Manager at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, has been an active member of Operation Florian for 11 years and during this time has worked on projects in Bosnia, Montenegro, Paraguay, Ecuador, Bulgaria and Macedonia. During this time Steve has worked as an instructor, chief instructor and for the past seven years has been the project manager for Macedonia.
He commented: ‘Operation Florian was set up by British firefighters who wanted to share their knowledge and experience with those parts of the world that suffer from fire and emergency situations, and don’t have the equipment or training to save lives.’
Ann-Marie concluded: ‘I would be overjoyed if you could support me by donating to this worthwhile cause.’
You will be able to follow Ann-Marie’s progress on: http://www.meninlycra.co.uk/
Please support her by donating to this fantastic cause!
You can donate to Ann-Marie’s cause via the following link: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/KenttoGhent
To donate to one of the other riders in the team, please visit the team page: https://www.justgiving.com/teams/SMEk
For more information on Operation Florian, visit: https://www.facebook.com/OperationFlorian/?fref=ts.
You can read more on refugee camp fire risk reduction here http://www.operationflorian.com/refugee-camps-fire-risk-reduction/