On a bitterly cold night, daredevils in Brian House T-shirts kicked off their socks and shoes and strode barefoot down a trail of burning coals as hot as a smouldering bonfire.
The Trinity Hospice Fire Walk, on February 23, saw dozens of people step into the cinders at Ribby Hall village to raise money for Brian House children’s hospice.
Guided by Scott Bell, two-time holder of the Guinness World Record for longest fire walk, and the soothing tones of The Prodigy’s 1996 hit ‘Firestarter’, fund-raisers braved temperatures of more than 400 degrees C, and had the soot-blackened feet to prove it.
After watching Trinity Hospice staff light the burning trail, and before braving the flames ourselves, 50 fire-walkers and more than 100 eager spectators gathered at Ribby Hall’s Woodland Suite for an all-important safety speech from UK Firewalk.
Urged to fill our minds with thoughts of ‘cool moss’ and warned sternly against lingering for too long on the coals, Scott reassured the nail-biters among us that most fire-walkers described the experience as ‘like walking on a warm carpet’.
Shepherded back to the burning trail, the flames had flickered down to a molten red dust covered with a layer of black coal. One by one, the fire walkers braved the red-hot catwalk, bringing in an impressive £6,500 and counting for the children’s hospice.
While some sensible participants brought light flip-flops to slip on after dipping their scorched feet in one of the buckets of water provided, others (myself included) faced a grim hobble over sharp, freezing cold gravel to get back to their shoes - an experience far more unpleasant than the fire walk itself.
Antonia Hawkins, who organised the event for Trinity Hospice and Brian House, said: “A lot of people have said that stepping off the fire onto the freezing cold floor was the most challenging part. It was minus two degrees, probably even less.
“I thought Firewalk UK were really professional, and they really supported the event, especially on the night. They made me feel a lot calmer.
“It’s definitely something we’d consider bringing back in a few years.”