Sunday, 15 April 2012

I Survived Firewalking!!

Friday 13th April: Unlucky for some, but for me it provided one of the best feelings of accomplishment that I have had in a long time. the day start of ordinarily enough. M and I went to scope as usual. Her partner wasn't there, so we pretty much just spent the day together, walking into town twice to do a bit of shopping. After lunch M and some of the others at Scope did karaoke. At 3.30pm we headed to Bognor Regis to find out where the event was actually taking place.

After find the Bognor Regis Rugby Club we drove to the beach, and went for a walk. Well, tried to go for a walk M's chair battery was almost flat from walking into town twice already, and her chair was going VERY slow. So, I guess we did have some bad luck that day. We rang M's mum and asked her to bring the manual chair with her when she came to watch the firewalking. We gave up walking along the beach and then headed to McDonald's where we had an early dinner.

The fire! And buckets of water to wash our feet
in afterwards...
It was then back to the rugby club, arriving at about 6pm. I helped set up the raffle table, and also got there in time to see them lighting the fire that we were about to walk on! I can't admit that I wasn't a little nervous! The fact that the guy lighting the fire was wearing a full on fireproof suit didn't boost the confidence levels... Maybe a sponsored marshmallow toasting would be a better idea? Turns out a flat battery wasn't the only bit of bad luck for the day - my DSLR camera battery was flat! And only that morning I had looked at the spare one, wondering if I should pack it. Nah, she'll be right mate, I thought. LOL, jokes on me. But don't worry, I had my point and shoot camera with me as well :)

Just a tad nervous

The other side of the fire, you can tell which way the wind
is blowing.

Around 7pm we had a group photo of all the firewalkers (see above), followed by a pep talk by the guy who ran the firewalk. He was an ex marine, or army man, or something, who used to train guys to survive in harsh environments, such as the Artic, desert, etc. He talked to us about fears and how we are only born with two - the fear of being dropped, and loud noises. The rest are learnt, including the fear of fire/heat. From a young age we are told not to get too close to fire for fear of being burnt, but the science says that we are not going to get burnt if we just walk normally (of course getting burnt is possible, but there are other, cooler things [like the walls of an oven] that WILL burn you, even if you just touch them for a brief time).

We then did some activities to help relax us and get over our fears, showing that even though things may seem impossible, that may not actually be the case. First we had to teach a partner a crazy dance, and then we had to get really close to each other and play 'verbal pingpong'. Then some people broke a piece of wood with their hand, and others an arrow, by pushing against it with the pointy bits against their throats! After all that we had to sign a declaration saying that firewalking can be dangerous, and removing liability from the company should something go wrong :S

Feeling hot, hot, hot!
FINALLY it was time for the big event: FIREWALKING!!! This was it! We walked out of the changing room and to the roped off, firewalkers only area. We got into a line and the firewalking guy measured the temperature (a nice balmy 525 C), and then did the first walk to show us how it's done. Then Peter, the event organiser went first to a big cheer. Somehow I had made it to the end of the line, so I got to watch about 29 other people do the fire walk first - some of who were obviously burning their feet a little...

And then it was my go. I got a big cheer for being the last one to go (that was pretty cool :P). I took a breath, concentrated on where I was to walk, and then went for it... all four steps. OK, so it wasn't that long a firewalk, but it was a pretty awesome feeling to have completed it. And I didn't burn my feet - bonus! Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of people firewalking, as the person I gave my camera to didn't take any :( In hindsight, I could have kept hold of my camera for a bit longer, seeing as I was the last one to go. There was a professional photographer there, though, and he got me going across :)

After I had done the walk there was another group photo, which I almost wasn't a part of - I hadn't realised it was happening, so was talking to M and her mum. I think I managed to jump into the final photo that was taken, but I'm not sure if they will use that one or another one in the newspaper - possibly the 3rd bit of bad luck for the day? After the photo all the people who wanted to do it again went through in one big continuous line of firewalkers. That second time was really fun with everyone doing it all together, rather then one at a time.

We then hung around for a bit for the raffle, but M was getting tired. Luckily M's mum took her home, and I stayed till the end of the raffle. I didn't actually win anything worth writing about, but driving home by myself and coming home to a client who was already in bed made it feel like I had had a night off, but it was a night off doing something completely AWESOME for a good cause, so I went to bed a very happy girl!! :)

Remember you can still donate if you wish - As I said before the money is going towards Scope Chichester. Due to council funding cuts, instead of the building being rent free they now have to pay something like £12 000 a year. So, the money that used to go towards activities (including bus maintenance) for people with cerebral palsy is just going toward rent. Email me at for further information on how you can help. I will be presenting the money to Scope on Friday 27th April, so you have until then to donate :) Thanks!!