GLOUCESTERSHIRE firefighters are near the final stretch of their county-wide challenge to raise funds to fight cancer.

In what’s being called the great Gloucestershire bed push, a team of firefighters set off last Friday morning from Lydney fire station, pushing a custom-made wooden hospital bed 160 miles around the county, all in aid of a hospital cancer unit.

The team are now over half way through the gruelling 6-day fundraising event, which has seen them set off often as early as 6.30am, going from fire station to fire station, pushing the hospital bed on the streets.

Today sees the brave team stomp from Fairford to Cirencester, having reached Fairford only the day before two hours ahead of schedule.

But with just under £7,000 raised so far online, and with a target of £100,000, there is still some way for the firefighters to go, not only in bed-push miles, but in fundraising miles, too.

The challenge will take them to a total of 21 fire stations over six days to raise money for Cheltenham and Gloucester’s Hospital Charity, which supports the regional oncology cancer care charity Focus.

Already, the weather has turned, with rain over the weekend, yet by day three, the team had reached Moreton, Stow and Northleach.

Dressed in hi-visibility jackets and carrying buckets, the firefighters have received warm welcomes everywhere, with people putting money in the buckets, and drivers tooting their support as they pass by.

Tuesday, September 11 will see the team calling at the stations in Wotton, Dursley, Nailsworth and Stroud.

The final day will begin at 7.30am on Wednesday, September 11, with the firefighters pushing the customised bed from Cheltenham Fire station 12 to Cheltenham hospital’s Oncology site.

Rob Bunting, the station manager with Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, who came up with the idea, said: “What I'm looking forwards to most is meeting all the people on the route around the county and seeing all their smiley faces and feeling our collection buckets getting heavier and heavier!"

Follow the firefighters!

Here’s where you can see the team and lend your support:

Monday, Sept 10 Leaving at Arriving at

Cirencester to Tetbury 10.30am 14.10pm

Tetbury to Wotton 3.30pm 6.30pm

Tuesday, Sept 11

Wotton to Dursley 6.30am 8.30am

Dursley to Nailsworth 9am 12.30pm

Nailsworth to Stroud 1pm 2.30pm

Stroud to Gloucester 3pm 5.30pm

Wednesday, Sept 12

Gloucs stn 5 to Gloucsstn 11 7.30am 10.30am

Gloucs stn 11to Chelt stn 13 11am 1pm

Chelt stn 13 to Chelt stn 12 1.30pm 3.30pm

Chelt stn 12 to Chelt hospital

Oncology 4pm 4.30pm

To make a donation to support the GFRS bed push visit