Cross Fit St Albans members rally round for community event

Cross Fit St Albans members at their summer throwdown.

Cross Fit St Albans members at their summer throwdown. - Credit: Lee Evans

In the aftermath of the devastating fire which ripped through a St Albans industrial site, the businesses who lost everything in the blaze are trying to rebuild and look forwards.

Cross Fit St Albans members at their summer throwdown.

Cross Fit St Albans members at their summer throwdown. - Credit: Lee Evans

Rather than let the tragedy at London Road Business Park get the better of them, members of Cross Fit St Albans rallied round to ensure their annual summer throwdown event continued as planned.

Cross Fit St Albans members at their summer throwdown.

Cross Fit St Albans members at their summer throwdown. - Credit: Lee Evans

Taking place at Abbey View athletics track, it was a celebration of community, movement, fun and hard work for members and their families.

Cross Fit St Albans members at their summer throwdown.

Cross Fit St Albans members at their summer throwdown. - Credit: Lee Evans

Coach Claudia Charlton explained: "We had designed all of the workouts and were going to bring a lot of our gym equipment with us, but then the fire happened.

Cross Fit St Albans members at their summer throwdown.

Cross Fit St Albans members at their summer throwdown. - Credit: Lee Evans

"We decided to go ahead with the event anyway because it was a great opportunity to get our community together and celebrate friendships and family.

Cross Fit St Albans members at their summer throwdown.

Cross Fit St Albans members at their summer throwdown. - Credit: Lee Evans

"Obviously, we no longer had any equipment, so I went down to a garden centre and picked up a load of bags of sand, and we encouraged members to bring with them any weights or equipment they had at home from their lockdown days.

Cross Fit St Albans members at their summer throwdown.

Cross Fit St Albans members at their summer throwdown. - Credit: Lee Evans

"We made it work and had a blast. 

Cross Fit St Albans summer throwdown.

Cross Fit St Albans summer throwdown. - Credit: Lee Evans

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"Nocco very kindly supplied us with crates of drink for free, and the universe was responsible for the fine weather! Abbey View athletics track/1Life have always been incredible to work with and very accommodating. Peter Spivey in Hemel Hempstead gave us a load of free T-shirts and baseball caps which they had embroidered and printed and we sold them on the day to help raise funds for our coaches."

Cross Fit St Albans members at their summer throwdown.

Cross Fit St Albans members at their summer throwdown. - Credit: Lee Evans

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe campaign has been set up by Dave Hawkins to rebuild the ambulance station he set up with his wife and friends on the industrial estate, which was also destroyed in the inferno.

Before the fire MET Medical supplied four to five ambulances each day, 365 days a year, covering St Albans and the surrounding areas to support the NHS. 

Dave explained: "We respond to 999 calls on behalf of the NHS to help ease the pressures the service faces. Not many people realise that we exist as they assume all ambulances are operated directly by the NHS.

"We have been in the building for most of the eight years we have been running for and there are lots of memories associated with that. Sadly, everything is damaged by fire, smoke and water. The roof is burnt and the building is uninhabitable.

"Some might think insurance will cover things like these. Insurance replaces the bandages and oxygen masks but doesn't begin to help with the long and challenging task of building a new home in or around St Albans, which meets the standards and regulations required to operate.

"Our staff have been going well beyond the call of duty. One of our fleet staff removed over 30 oxygen cylinders as the fire crept towards our building to prevent a major catastrophe. They also managed to save our ambulances."

The campaign is hoping to raise £10,000 to go towards the costs of finding a new building and equipping it to meet infection control standards - including installing separate water supplies for cleaning and decontamination; installing welfare facilities such as changing rooms, lockers and showers for paramedics and ambulance staff to use at the end of their shifts; and putting the infrastructure in place to help them do their job.

Donate here to help: https://gf.me/v/c/zhsn/help-rebuild-our-ambulance-station-in-st-albans