Saracens St Albans firewalk raises cash for hospice

ABOUT 120 Saracens rugby players and staff bared their soles for a good cause in St Albans on Tuesday.

They used their naked feet to complete a fiery feat, walking over a bed of hot embers to raise money for the Hospice of St Francis which provides care for people with life-limiting illnesses.

Years of dodging tackles and using fancy footwork to score tries came in handy as the team, based in St Albans, walked gingerly over the smouldering embers at Woollams playing fields, Harpenden Road.

While the wood was being heated to a temperature of around 800 degrees on the field, Saracens received a last-minute pep talk to help them prepare mentally for the challenge.

Steve Stuttart of fire walking experts Survivorbility told them that it could be worse – there are men on the other side of the world who have to walk over hot lava to prove themselves worthy of proposing to their intended brides.

He advised against stepping on tip toes or heels, explaining that full contact was best and to “walk normally.”

Steve added: “There is a risk you may get a blister which will last two days, if you are unlucky, but think of the money you are raising for the hospice.”

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Then it was off to a pitch at the Old Albanians home ground, briefly converted to a bed of hot embers.

Players and staff put good use to buckets of cold water placed at the end of two scorching paths, as they immediately stood in them after their fiery walk. Nearby extinguishers, however, were not used.

Saracens’ charity challenge attracted a wide range of media interest in the club with the likes of Sky Sports filming the event.

Chris Wyles, Saracens full back, centre and wing, said the event was fun. He added: “It was great to have all the boys and staff support it.” The hospice cared for his mum, Jessica, earlier this year.

Saracens hope to raise enough money to enable St Francis to employ three full-time specialist nurses, by staging six sponsored events this rugby season. About 20 per cent of the hospice’s patients are from the St Albans district.

To sponsor Chris visit his justgiving page at: