Norfolk’s fire service band plays in memory of 9/11 heroes

Norfolk Fire Service band The Backdrafts perform in New York and take part in the Tunnel to Towers 5

Norfolk Fire Service band The Backdrafts perform in New York and take part in the Tunnel to Towers 5k run. Photo: Submitted - Credit: Archant

A fire service band from Norfolk has been at the heart of events to remember the 343 firefighters who lost their lives in the 9/11 terror attacks.

Tears were brought to the eyes of hundreds of New Yorkers when The Backdrafts, a five-piece band which performs in full firefighting kit, played their self-penned song Chose to Run in Brooklyn on Saturday.

They performed the ballad - written to reflect the sacrifices made by emergency workers on September 11, 2001 - at an appreciation dinner held on the night before the annual Tunnel to Towers 5km memorial run.

Members of the band then joined 30,000 people as they took part in the race on Sunday.

During their visit, the five men have also visited the former World Trader Center site and today will be performing at the world's largest military hospital, near Washington DC - and one of their members also found time to get married.

Drummer Scott Field, 42, who is a member of the Dereham-based Urban Search and Rescue team, said: 'The response to Chose to Run was overwhelming. When we played it, everyone stopped and listened to it and there were tears in people's eyes. It was a privilege to play to them and I must admit I had a lump in my throat as I was playing it.'

The Backdrafts had been asked to play at the Tunnel to Towers appreciation dinner after organisers heard them perform at the equivalent 5km run in London last July.

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It was their biggest gig to date as they played to a crowd of up to 700 people at Elevated Acre in Brooklyn. Just ahead of the performance, the band's frontman Andy Heginbotham married Becky Blount on a taxi boat near to the Statue of Liberty at sunset.

Mr Field and Mr Heginbotham were then part of a team of 10 Norfolk firefighters who took part in the 5km race on Sunday.

Three members of the band are based at Dereham Fire Station as part of the county's urban search and rescue team: Mr Field, Duncan Barrow and James Little. Mr Heginbotham is a group manager at Norfolk Fire and Rescue service headquarters and new recruit Robert Forder is based at East Harling. They will fly home on Thursday.

For more on The Backdrafts and their up-coming gigs, go to www.thebackdrafts.co.uk. To see a video of Chose to Run, go to this story on www.edp24.co.uk.

Are you doing something in memory of those who sacrificed their lives for others? Email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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