Trail ride raises $700 for brigade

Omakau cyclist Iain Hickey (centre, holding bike) donated $700 to the Omakau Fire Brigade for the first response unit, money raised during his marathon rail trail trek. Happy to receive the funds were (from left) Chief Fire Officer Sam Leask, Owen McKee, Campbell Wheeler, Adam Rubie, brigade secretary Sue Harris, Ian Rietveld, Deputy Chief Fire Officer Lloyd Harris, Stephen Wood, Bill Cockburn and Regan Harris. Photo by Lynda van Kempen.
Omakau cyclist Iain Hickey (centre, holding bike) donated $700 to the Omakau Fire Brigade for the first response unit, money raised during his marathon rail trail trek. Happy to receive the funds were (from left) Chief Fire Officer Sam Leask, Owen McKee, Campbell Wheeler, Adam Rubie, brigade secretary Sue Harris, Ian Rietveld, Deputy Chief Fire Officer Lloyd Harris, Stephen Wood, Bill Cockburn and Regan Harris. Photo by Lynda van Kempen.
The Omakau Fire Brigade, which is short of firefighters, has been eyeing up 80-year-old cyclist Iain Hickey as a potential recruit. Mr Hickey completed the 150km Otago Central Rail Trail in one day earlier this month, in the process raising $700 which he donated to the brigade's first response unit this week.

''You are an inspiration to us all and prove what can be done. Most of us retire at 65,'' Chief Fire Officer Sam Leask said as Mr Hickey handed over the cheque.

''In fact, we're short of firefighters, so we might have to sign you up.''

Mr Hickey said the brigade did an excellent job and he was grateful there was a first response unit based in his home town.

''I've enjoyed the services of the unit. It was about three years ago, when I had a bit of a heart attack and they were called out to me - I couldn't speak highly enough of them.''

Mr Leask said the unit was called out 30 to 40 times a year and the service was funded by donations. It operated with the assistance of the New Zealand Fire Service and St John and the vehicle was run by the brigade. The Omakau brigade was looking for three new recruits, preferably aged between 17 and 65, to train as firefighters.