Things hot up during sizzling Leeds firewalk

A firewalk at Millennium Square, Leeds.
A firewalk at Millennium Square, Leeds.
Have your say

A RED hot fundraiser held in Leeds saw daredevils dash barefoot across burning coals as part of a charity challenge this week.

The sizzling event, which was held at Millennium Square in the city centre, involved dozens of participants who made their way across 20ft of burning wood embers, which reached scorching temperatures of up to 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Before braving the hot coals, those taking part underwent training by the Guinness World Record holder for the longest firewalk.

Firewalking is practised by many cultures across the world, such as Japanese Taoists and Buddhists, Eastern Orthodox Christians in Greece and Bulgaria and Hindu Indians in South Asia, who walk over fire during village festivals.

It became increasingly popular in the 20th Century when author Tolly Burkan started giving public firewalking classes in America and Europe.

But the fearless volunteers in Leeds signed up for the recent firewalk challenge to help raise vital funds for the Stroke Association.

Mahalia France-Mir is the regional fundraiser at the charity.

Speaking about the firewalk, she said: “It’s a thrilling experience and a great way to raise money for the Stroke Association.

“Over a million people have completed a firewalk in the UK, so we’re really excited to bring it to Leeds.

Mahalia added: “All the money raised by our firewalkers will go towards research into preventing strokes, and supporting thousands of stroke survivors and their families to adjust to a life after stroke.”

There are around 152,000 strokes that happen in the UK every year, and it is currently the leading cause of severe adult disability.

According to the charity, over 1.2million people in the UK are living with the effects of stroke.

The charity aims to improve care for sufferers whilst providing support and helping them with their recovery.

It also funds ground-breaking research to change the lives of people affected by strokes.

A stroke is an attack in the brain that happens when the blood supply is cut off, which can be caused by a clot or bleeding in the brain.

To find out more information about strokes and the Stroke Association charity, you can call the helpline on 0303 3033 100.

Alternatively, you can visit the charity’s website at

To take part in a fundraising firewalk, you can also visit

Red hot records

The Guinness World Record for the most people firewalking consecutively is 608 people. It was achieved by Eastbourne Scouts in New Zealand in 2012.

The event raised money for charities ‘So They Can’ and ‘The Orphans of Nepal Trust’.

Trever McGhee from Canada holds the record for the farthest distance firewalking.

Babies from Sunshine and Smiles' baby group: From left, Teagan Henson, Oliver Sykes and Emilia Lawson

Leeds tots visit pop-up cafe launched to mark World Down Syndrome Day