The Fireproof IP

Jack Simpson

Head of Marketing and Communications

So it goes

In today’s digital age, chances to engage in or see daring acts of bravery are few and far between. When the chance came for one of our devs to put his neck – or at least the soles of his feet – on the line for a good cause, he jumped at the opportunity. Apparently sharing his Pathfinder character’s trait for reckless altruism, Nick Stafford  pledged last month to take part in a sponsored firewalk to raise money for our friends at Mahdlo Youth Zone.

Feeling more foolish by the day, Industrial Placement student Nick had been preparing for the firewalk with a classic technique – deliberate forgetfulness. However when the day came and the sponsor money began to pour in, Nick was raring to go, save a little wobble just before 6 when he attempted to board a bus home!

Wobbles averted, Nick and I rocked up to Mahdlo ready to be reassured of our safety by the incredibly professional instructor Scott Bell, of UK Firewalk. A veteran fire-walker and double world-record holder, Scott explained the theory and varying cultural traditions of fire-walking, and almost put us at ease . I say almost, because right after he’d finished presenting, he produced an arrow, placed it the point at the base of his throat and proceeded to walk into it.

Don’t worry, this wasn’t as insane or as fatally wounding as it sounds. At close range, a human’s forward momentum will actually snap an arrow in half. Scott then cheerfully invited audience members to snap an arrow or two on their own throats – Nick declined, focused on the task at hand.

After a hearty bowl of hotpot, the group headed outside, where a 600 degree fire was evaporating the rain above it.

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Yep – I was super glad to be busy taking photos.

Scott demonstrated first, followed by Mahdlo Chairman Terry Flanagan. Soon people were practically sprinting to the front of the queue, and Nick’s time soon came. He drew a line across his neck before walking across in a hysterical gesture of bravado, then confidently strode over the red hot coals.

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Like a boss.

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Apologies are due to top sponsor Mark, whom I promised I would procure a video of the walk for!

Suddenly taken by a strange sense of invincibility, Nick went back and made the walk 3 more times, truly earning his certificate.

It was a great night for it, too; having visited Mahdlo several times, last night’s visit was the first time I’ve had a true sense of what life is all about at the youth centre. Packed with lively young people taking part in a huge range of activities such as boxing, dance, hockey, football, pool and so much more, it was a joy to see Mahdlo doing what it does best – providing a productive and enriching environment for the young people of our town.

As ever, it was great to check in with the team at Mahdlo. The only problem to have arose is that Nick is now utterly convinced of his own invulnerability – it’s possible we may have been part of an origin story for Oldham’s answer to Batman!

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