FIREFIGHTERS in the Black Country will be staging charity car washes this weekend to raise funds in honour of colleague Iain Hughes who went missing hours into a charity swim in the English Channel.

Iain, a firefighter with West Midlands Fire Service, had been attempting the gruelling challenge to raise money for the British Heart Foundation, The Fire Fighters Charity and Midlands Air Ambulance Charity.

The 42-year-old crew manager, based at Wednesbury Fire Station with the fire service’s Technical Rescue Unit, went missing on Tuesday June 20 after starting his solo swim, accompanied by a support boat, earlier that day.

A major search effort, involving French and Belgian military helicopters and navy and police patrol boats, got underway but on Wednesday night it was announced that it had been called off.

West Midlands Fire Services colleagues and chiefs have asked members of the public to honour Iain by donating to his JustGiving page to help and within less than 24 hours it had topped its £21k target.

Today it had reached £40k and counting.

Meanwhile, Iain’s colleagues - who have been rocked by the news of his disappearance - have been organising charity car washes to take place this weekend to help pull in even more pounds.

Firefighters will be washing cars at Brierley Hill Fire Station from 10am to 3pm on Saturday June 24, with all proceeds going to the fundraising page set up by Iain who has worked at fire stations across the Black Country.

Colleagues at Tipton Fire Station will also be holding a charity car wash from midday until 4pm tomorrow.

Kent Police said today that police have been in contact with partner agencies including the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and their French counterparts to establish more information about the circumstances of Iain’s disappearance and a spokesperson added: “Enquiries remain ongoing to locate the missing man.”