Heroic Padiham firefighter beats life threatening injury to stage romantic proposal to his girlfriend after completing epic coast to coast challenge

A Padiham based firefighter completed an epic coast to coast fundraising challenge by proposing to his girlfriend on the finish line – despite suffering a potentially lethal injury along the way which needed hospital treatment.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 10:01 am
Updated Friday, 18th June 2021, 10:02 am

Joey Hawke, who is an on-call firefighter with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, was joined by four friends for the walk – which saw them trek from St. Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood's Bay in Yorkshire in full fire kit.

And Joey completed the challenge and the romantic proposal despite being in pain when one of his blisters became infected, leading to potentially life threatening sepsis.

The walk was in aid of The Fire Fighters Charity and the Royal Navy and Royal Marine Charity (RNRMC) – two causes very close to Joey and his friends’ hearts – and they managed to complete it in four days, 13 hours and 55 minutes. But there was even more cause for celebration on the finish line, as Joey dropped down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend, Emily.

The moment Joey proposed to Emily was captured by Chalkie Bolton Photography
The moment Joey proposed to Emily was captured by Chalkie Bolton Photography

Joey said: “My two mates made a massive banner, they unravelled that which said, ‘will you marry me?’

"She turned back to me and I got down on one knee. I nearly started crying coming down the last hill to be honest, we were all so tired, but that meant I didn’t have too much time to think about it.”

Joey was first inspired to support The Fire Fighters Charity after seeing how covid had impacted its normal fundraising over the last year.

He added: “I know a few firefighters that have previously used the charity’s services, with a few going to Jubilee House in Cumbria, so I know what a good job it does.”

The group were kitted up in full fire kit and even carried breathing apparatus, adding at least another 17kg onto their back. Then, Joey's injury came mid-way through when one of his blisters became infected, eventually leading to potentially dangerous sepsis.

Thankfully, he was treated in hospital shortly after completing the walk and is doing well now.

The group have so far raised more than £3,500, with a further £500 in the bucket they carried with them – and it’s still rising, despite them completing the walk at the end of May.

Alan Knell, The Fire Fighters Charity corporate, community and events fundraiser, said: “A huge congratulations to all the team that completed such a tough and demanding challenge. I have nothing but admiration for the sheer determination and desire to support two fantastic charities. Thank you.”

To donate to them, please click HERE. The fund raising page will be live until Sunday, June 20th

If you would like to donate to The Fire Fighters Charity, or organise a fundraising event in support of the vital work it does in the dire services community, visit its website here: https://www.firefighterscharity.org.uk/