WHEN more than 20 Isle of Wight firefighters were taken off front-line duties for failing new fitness tests, a personal trainer stepped in to help them get back to work.

Tom Crockford, 29, from Havenstreet, offered free personal training to all the Newport firefighters at Isle Be Fit in Holyrood Street, Newport.

Following the introduction of the stringent new government tests in November, Tom has helped three firefighters boost their fitness and return to front-line service.

Christopher Filipe, 56, from Newport, who has been a firefighter for 34 years, was one of the crew to fail the test.

He said: “It was a bit of a shock because the all the way through last summer we were out every day in the hot weather, fighting bush fires.

“We thought we were all reasonably fit. It had a real knock-on effect, because without those crew members, people were worrying if there would be enough firefighters to keep them safe.”

Isle of Wight County Press:

To pass the new test, Christopher had to walk on a treadmill at 6.2km per hour, with the incline increasing by three degrees every two minutes. After 12 minutes, he was faced with a 15 degree incline.

Christopher said: “Every one of us who failed, failed the test in those last two minutes.

“It was a completely different level of fitness to just running around the block.”

Tom began training with the firefighters twice a week, as well as visiting Newport Fire Station for a weekly ‘boot camp’ session with the entire crew.

Tom said: “They are providing such a crucial service to the Isle of Wight, and everyone needs help from time to time.

“I had the skills, and I wanted to be able to share that.”

Isle of Wight County Press:

Tom has helped three firefighters get back to work, with the final crew member expected to return shortly, having been delayed by a sports injury.

He said: “It such a cool feeling when they began to get back to work — it was nice to know I was able to help. ”

Christopher said: “I was the second to get back out on the run. It got competitive between us to see who was going to get back on the run first.

“We are so grateful to Tom. I’ve also lost a stone in four months, my fitness level is up — he’s been amazing.”

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