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Helmsley firefighter to tackle second 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb in New York

A Helmsley fireman who raised over £1,000 to help emergency responders injured during 9/11 is returning to New York to do his second charity stair climb.

Chris Lazenby will travel to America to take part in the fifth Annual New York City Memorial Stair Climb which takes place on International Fire Fighters day on 4th May, alongside more than 400 other first responders.

Last year Chris was the tenth highest fundraiser at the event, with sponsorship money going to The Ray Pfeifer Foundation, which assists injured and sick firefighters and police officers impacted by the events of 9/11. This year money raised will go to A Soldiers Journey Home, to improve the life of veterans.

The challenge involves ascending the 80 floors of 3 World Trade Center, honouring the 23 NYPD, 37 PAPD and 343 FDNY killed on September 11th 2001. The climb is done in full fire kit, including breathing apparatus.

Each participant climbs in honour of a particular person who died at 9/11, carrying a lanyard with their image, name and position in the emergency services. In 2018 Chris walked for John Moran, Battalion Chief of Battalion 49.

Chris works as a retained firefighter for the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, but also owns Lazenby Visuals, a photography and picture framing business in Helmsley’s Walled Garden craft units.

Chris said: “Last year, I ascended the 80 floors in a little over 30 minutes. I was hoping for just under, so I’m already training harder this year. At the top at was great to be met by climbers who’d already completed it and in return, congratulate those coming up behind me. After a little break and taking in the views of New York, I got the lift back down to the bottom to see my family. My wife immediately told me they were looking for people to go again as, due to some participants being unable to attend, not every person had been honoured and taken to the top. Without thinking twice, I got a second lanyard and went again, this time for Robert Evans, Engine 33.

“It was a very moving event. Before the actual climb, there was a moment of silence next to the Reflection Pools, on the site of the original footprint of the World Trade Centre. Part of this ceremony included introducing everyone to two people who had just been diagnosed with 9/11 related cancer, which was very emotional and a reminder of why the funds we were raising were so important. As you ascended the internal staircase of the World Trade Centre, it was lined with photos of those fallen responders. It was very emotional to see climbers reach images of people they knew and pause for a few moments of respect.”

Anyone wishing to sponsor Chris’ climb can go to https://climb.memorialstairclimb.com/fundraiser/1846095