FIREFIGHTERS will be taking part in an epic Ironman challenge in support of a colleague's daughter who suffered life-changing injuries after falling into a river.

Seventeen-year-old Jodie Punshon was rescued by Bury Fire Station's Red Watch when she fell six metres in to the water while walking along the river path with a friend at Pot Green in Summerseat last June.

Jodie, who lives with her family in Ramsbottom, suffered life-changing injuries in the accident.

Jodie Punshon

Jodie Punshon

She spent six months in hospital, including undergoing treatment in the North West Regional Spinal Injuries Centre in Southport after being diagnosed with tetraplegia as a result of the injury, meaning that all four of her limbs are affected by loss of movement and feeling.

The sixth form student at Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School has no movement or feeling below the top of her rib cage, she has regained some use of her arms but it is extremely unlikely that she will ever regain the use of her legs.

Firefighters at Bury Fire Station, where Jodie's dad, Greg works, will this month take part in a triathlon challenge which is equivalent to eight full Ironmen in eight days.

Money will pay for a standing wheelchair to help Jodie's recovery and for any specialist equipment and adaptations she needs to fulfil her goals.

Greg, watch manager for Blue Watch, said: "We are all overwhelmed by the response we have received.

"The chair will transform everyday life for Jodie, from the health benefits to the practicalities of being able to open up a cupboard.

"Jodie has been a tower of strength through everything, it was her idea to set up an Instagram account about her recovery, she has been amazing with the psychological side of having the accident.

"She has applied for university, she is now doing her mocks. Jodie is a double black belt in karate and was awarded the black belt in Taekwondo shortly after her accident, and she has just gone back for lessons this week."

Greg added: "We have reached the initial target set but have kept the page going because there will be other equipment Jodie will need. For example she was able to meet her friends this week in the park, but the wheelchair got bogged down in the grass so we will looked at getting off-road wheels for the chair."

He said: "The response has been amazing with strangers donating - all the money raised will make a difference to Jodie."

Firefighters at Bury Fire Station will undertake the gruelling challenge on April 21.

Steve Wilcock, watch manager of Green Watch at Bury Fire Station said: "I came on the next day when Red Watch had rescued Jodie, and as firefighters we go to traumatic incidents but you don't know the person and when it is someone you know it changes the dynamics.

"Bury Fire Station is very close-knit, and I have known Greg for 15 years, at work and also out of work. It was an idea the firefighters came up with to support Jodie and the family. Jodie has a positive spirit and the whole family have been brave and strong."

To support Jodie and the firefighters in their challenge visit