40 Faces of hospice care | Meet Andrew Thorpe, supporter of St Barnabas

14th September 2023

A man, Andrew Thorpe, who is a supporter of St Barnabas Hospice, photographed in black and white, against a black backdrop

Firefighter Andrew’s commitment to fundraising for St Barnabas, and his hard work making it happen, sees him going above and beyond in his role as Crew Manager. He represents hundreds of firefighters past and present, at Lincoln North Fire Station who have gone the extra mile to support the Hospice.

Since 2012, the station has dedicated its fundraising activity to the Firefighters Charity and St Barnabas Hospice, and the crew has organised many events in this time. From hose running 2.6 miles as part of a national fundraising drive during lockdown, to a Captain Tom-inspired ladder climb. The late Captain Tom’s ‘100 Challenge’ saw the crew climb a 10-metre vertical ladder one hundred times. In theory it sounded doable… in practice, Andrew and the team realised they’d been a little over ambitious! But they kept going – even the rain didn’t deter them – and they raised seven times their target.

The annual station open days always attract big crowds, however the biggest fundraising event every year is the station’s Christmas collection. The crew takes Santa’s sleigh around Lincoln every night for almost a week, in a convoy with fire engines and festive music blasting out. The coveted role of Santa goes to a willing volunteer happy to ride on the sleigh while the elves walk the streets with buckets collecting donations from kind supporters. It’s a night to remember for children and families – and the firefighters enjoy it too! Family, friends, the Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Preservation Support Service and the Fire Cadets all get involved in the fun.

But firefighting doesn’t stop for Lincoln North Station elves just because it’s Christmas. One year, shortly after the crew had finished the collection for the night, they got a call-out to a building fire. With no time to spare, they jumped in the fire engine and were on their way. Thankfully the elves had time to change outfits, but their rosy cheeks gave the game away!

Fundraising for St Barnabas is a big part of the station’s history, and they have played a significant role in helping us give care and support to patients and families for the last ten years. And for that, we’re eternally grateful.

In his own words… “The Hospice is everything for people at the end of their life or needing respite care. To have a group of people, like the team at St Barnabas, to help normalise what they’re going through is invaluable. Like the fire service, the Hospice is there for people at one of their worst times. Neither can fix things, but when we turn up, we make things a bit better.”

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