Tragic Northern Quarter fire hero Stephen Hunt honoured by comrades taking on gruelling New York marathon

By Tim Hyde

The brave firefighter who lost his life in the Northern Quarter blaze last month will be honoured by five colleagues who will tackle the gruelling New York Marathon in his memory.

Father-of-two Stephen Hunt, 38, died while tackling the fire at Paul’s Hair World on Oldham Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter last month.

After the heartbreak of losing a comrade, Pete Griffiths, Rob McDonagh, Leon Dally, Mark Haslam and Dean Hanley are determined to honour Steve’s memory.

On November 3, the men will set off wearing ‘Running for Steve’ on their vests as a mark of respect.

Pete Griffiths said: “Within our type of work, we help to save lives and promote fire safety daily. Operation Florian is a charity close to all our hearts as they carry out the same type of work overseas in communities far less advanced than ourselves.

“It is a brilliant charity, run solely by volunteers, so every penny donated will really help save lives worldwide.  

“This year we are all running for Steve and we really need support to help us raise the money.”

They intend to raise £20,000 for Operation Florian in its 20th anniversary year.

The fireman have set themselves the challenge of running the world’s most popular marathon as Operation Florian is the only fire service charity to offer places in the race.

Training is well underway for the firefighters in order to complete the Marathon. Pete, Rob and Leon have run the renowned marathon before, but it will be a new experience and challenge for Mark and Dean.  

Operation Florian responds to requests for assistance and through their work they promote capacity building and disaster risk reduction.

This is done by providing correct of appliances, equipment and training to improve firefighting, rescue and first aid capabilities.

The charity seeks to acquire these through donations or sources them second hand from the fire sector.

Focussed on saving lives across the globe, the charity is run solely by volunteers meaning all the funds raised go directly to helping people less fortunate.

The funds raised will go to helping struggling families in Macedonia, Zimbabwe, Chile, Portugal, Bulgaria and South Africa.

To donate please go to

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