Fundraiser will be a fitting tribute to firefighter who died from cancer

Wallsend firefighter Rob Wright who died from leukaemia in October 2012.
Wallsend firefighter Rob Wright who died from leukaemia in October 2012.

FRIENDS and colleagues of a hero firefighter who lost his battle with cancer are holding a fitness fundraising event in his honour.

Firefighter Rob Wright died last October after suffering from acute myeloid leukaemia at the age of 39.

The blue watch firefighter, from Wallsend, had celebrated the birth of twin boys with his wife Samantha just weeks before learning the cancer had spread to his nerves.

Now, in tribute to Rob – who was a keen ‘Tough Guy’ competitor – friends are holding a fitness fundraiser this weekend in aid of the Anthony Nolan Trust.

A number of classes – including body pump, body combat, body attack, zumba and ultimate workout – will take place at the Parks Sports Centre, North Shields, from 11.30am to 3.30pm on Sunday.

And activities have also been lined up that do not involve exercise.

Rob’s former colleagues from blue watch will be taking along one of their fire engines at 1.30pm to allow children and adults get up close to the equipment they use, while there will also be a bouncy castle from 1.30pm to 3.30pm to keep youngsters entertained.

The event is being organised by Laura Watson plus husband and wife duo Deborah and Kevin Nolan.

And so far more than 50 people have signed up to the various classes.

Deborah said: “Rob was close friends with Kevin and Laura, and I went to the gym with him and knew his wife Samantha.

“Rob was a fitness fanatic and always in the gym.

“We found out last March that he had leukaemia, it was a bolt out of the blue. He got married in the April, then they had their twin boys, but then he died a few weeks later.

“It was very emotional for a lot of people as he was so young. He was just 39. He died just before his 40th birthday.”

She added: “We’re hoping to raise £1,000 from the event.”

The Anthony Nolan Trust aims to raise awareness of blood cancer as well as funds to help treatment and research into the condition.

Clare McTaggart, senior community fundraising manager at the charity, said: “The fundraising that the trio are doing will make such a big difference.

“It costs around £100 to recruit each person to the Anthony Nolan register, so fundraising is a vital part of our life-saving work.

“The more fundraising we do, the more potential donors we can recruit onto the bone marrow register, and the more lives we can save.”

Donations will be taken on the day, while there are still some places available on the classes.

There will also be a cake sale, tombola, sports massages, car valeting and a raffle featuring a number of prizes.

For more information contact the team via Facebook at The Fitness Event 2013; Twitter @doingitforrob or e-mail