A gallant team of four have been busy training for an epic fundraising challenge that will see them row thousands of miles across the Atlantic. Kris Elliot, 28, his brother Blair, 26, Iain Dickson, 28, and Allan Huntly, 48, are aiming to raise £100,000 in memory of Alloa firefighter John Noble, who tragically died when a fire engine crashed in 2008.
It is a mammoth adventure that will see the group cross the ocean in a 23ft boat – a task only completed by around 400 people in the world to date. The quartet – who have been described as “heroes in their own right” – will pull out all the stops to reach the finish line next year.
Dunblane firefighter Kris said: “It’s a 3,000 mile endurance rowing race from the Canary Islands to Antigua in the West Indies.
“It’s a race organised by Talisker Whisky and there’s about 30-40 teams enter – we have got to basically row from east to west.
“Training is going really well. We have been out in the water quite a lot – we were out in North Uist a few weeks ago.”
It can take anything up to 100 days – and more people have been into space or climbed Mount Everest than have rowed this ocean – with Team Noble due to set off in December 2017.
The team have been delivering talks at various community events and for groups – often with their boat in tow. They have also been incredibly busy visiting schools to help inspire children, speaking about adventure, achievement and the outdoors. However, in order to complete the challenge, they will need to purchase a significant amount of equipment and sponsorship or gifts from individuals or businesses is crucial. Alloa-based RMD Power & Cooling has shown its backing for the charity feat, which could mark the first time Scottish firefighters cross the finish line.
Managing director Gavin Maxwell said: “We are always interested in supporting local charities and this one is especially close to us given they are doing the challenge in memory of a local Alloa firefighter who lost his life whilst on duty. The challenge is an enormous task and the guys are attempting this without any thought to the time they will be away from their families and other commitments, work etc.
"The amount of training they have to do coupled with trying to generate funding and attending local events as well as working and living is just phenomenal. To be the first Scottish firefighters to ever do this following on from English and two sets of Welsh firefighters makes this extra special.
“I believe people should be getting behind the team in anyway they can. Firefighters have an increasingly hard job with all the extra duties that have been added to their job roles over the years and as with other emergency service roles, they are potentially putting their own lives at risk every day in sacrifice of others.
“To support the firefighters’ charity in the memory of John Noble with the impact this will have on their own lives is truly endearing and heartwarming. The guys are definitely heroes in their own right even if a little mad for attempting this.”