Firefighters complete charity challenge to remember popular former colleague

Stu's Phoenix Challenge 2023

A determined Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service-led team battled humidity and the thunder to continue the fundraising legacy of former colleague Stu Crebbin.

They took on the fourth Stu’s Phoenix Challenge when an inclusive group of more than 40 walked Wales’ classic Bannau Brycheiniog Horseshoe over about 12 miles in memory of Stu and in aid of The Fire Fighters Charity.

Stu died in March 2021 aged 46 after a 12-month battle with cancer.

In 2020, he undertook The Brecon Beacons 10 Peaks Traverse (East to West) with his Phoenix Challenge team, covering 42 miles in 24 hours.

Despite having intense chemotherapy and immunotherapy sessions in the lead-up, Stu completed most of the challenge.

For the last two years Hereford Crew Commander Spencer Jones and his HWFRS colleagues have taken on The Brecon Beacons 10 Peaks Traverse (West to East).

This year the shorter distance on Sunday June 11 allowed for a wider participation from staff from four services, fire cadets, serving and retired firefighters, partners, children and even a couple of dogs.

The challenge has raised a total of nearly £25,000 so far over the years.

This year for the first time sponsor Martin Lown from Phoenix Forensic Service Provider Ltd, who has worked closely with Spencer, produced commemorative challenge coins for each participant.

Spencer said: “The humidity and thundery weather made the hike difficult at times but everyone completed it in high spirits.

“Nearly £25,000 has been raised to date with Gift Aid and off-line donations.

“I will change the event theme next year with a combination of cycling and canoeing.

“This will further include a yet wider audience wishing to take part in memory of Stu.”

Stu’s family, who are based in Hartlepool, were unable to join the walkers in Wales this time but have supported the challenge in past years.

A JustGiving page is still live for donations and sponsorship at