‘We wanted to do something quirky to create a buzz in our community (while raising funds for our new hydrotherapy pool), and decided that a firewalk would attract plenty of attention.
After going through online recommendations and speaking to different companies, we found UK Firewalk best met our needs as a special school. Preparation for the event included risk assessments, getting permission to do the walk (our land is owned by the local authority), and organising insurance.
We publicised the firewalk in several different ways. We ran a Twitter campaign, sent out press releases and asked local sports clubs to promote it to their members. One of the walkers was a local Conservative councillor, and this raised public awareness further.
We created an information pack that included details about firewalks, our school and an application form. UK Firewalk’s website hosted a declaration of interest form that local people could fill in, and entrants each paid an entry fee of £25. We asked them to each raise a minimum of £150 sponsorship.
On the day of the event, we welcomed around 100 spectators. There was an hour-long training session for the 18 firewalkers beforehand, so we laid on a fire-eater, stilt walkers, refreshments and stalls to keep spectators entertained. We stipulated that alcohol could not be consumed beforehand or brought onto the premises. Like all our events, attendance was free. This encourages more people to attend and spend money once they arrive.
The firewalkers said they got a huge buzz from the challenge – many walked two to three times. Walkers who raised £150 or more in sponsorship could reclaim their £25 sign-up fee, but everyone chose to donate it to us. We raised £3,200 in total.
We’ve already booked the firewalk for this year – and ten of last year’s walkers will be doing it again. To anybody thinking of organising a firewalk – do it! The company was amazing and did most of the organising themselves.’
Cameron Merry, fundraising lead, Selworthy School, Taunton, Somerset (98 pupils)