by Nicola Hendy
Spending five days travelling 1400 miles in the cab of a fire engine may not sound like everyone’s idea of fun – but today fifty volunteers from South Wales Fire and Rescue will do just that.
The ‘Blazing to Serbia’ project is taking six fire engines and other end of life equipment to find a new home in Serbia. The hope is that the new kit will help to save lives.
The journey itself will take the team through eight countries. Setting off from Caerphilly Castle at 8 am this morning, the convoy will head first to Folkestone where they will cross the channel via the Eurotunnel. Then they’ll head east through France, Belgium and Holland before stopping overnight in Koblenz, Germany. Friday will see the convoy heading across Germany itself, finally stopping for a break at Passau. Saturday is day four when the engines will pass through Slovakia and Hungary, stopping overnight in Budapest. A shorter drive on Sunday will take them right to the heart of Serbia, finishing the long trip in Belgrade.
It’s a project that’s taken six months plus to come to fruition, with fundraising the biggest hurdle to overcome. Petrol pumps will become the teams second home and with the high price of fuel these ‘gas guzzling’ engines are expected to need around £1500 worth of diesel just to make it to their destination.
Then, of course, there are the many pit stops for the crew – who’ll soon be able to do a write up on the best service stations in Europe.
As the six fire engines weave their way from West to East the smallest of tasks will become a logistical challenge. Parking the vehicles will be a mission in itself! Hot on their heels and taking over a bus will be the rest of the volunteers – young fire-fighters and helpers that have made ‘Blazing to Serbia’ a reality.
You’ll be able to follow all the trials and tribulations of the crew on the ITV Wales website. We will be with the team on the fire engines for the duration of the trip and you can keep up to date by watching my twitter feed @NicolaHendyITV
It’s a challenge to test Wales’ most experienced problem solvers. 1400 miles, eight countries and fifty people – all on a mission to help save lives in Serbia.