Gladiators: Sheffield finalist Bronte Jones prepares to take on ever bigger challenge in memory of friend, 27

Molly Midgley tragically died of cancer aged just 27 in February, but her legacy lives on
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She has thrilled the nation in reaching the final of Gladiators but now a Sheffield firefighter is preparing to take on an even bigger challenge.

Bronte Jones, who grew up in Mosborough and today lives in Frecheville with her boyfriend Harry, has done her home city proud on the hit BBC series.

Sheffield firefighter Bronte Jones (bottom left) has made it to the final of GladiatorsSheffield firefighter Bronte Jones (bottom left) has made it to the final of Gladiators
Sheffield firefighter Bronte Jones (bottom left) has made it to the final of Gladiators
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The whole of Sheffield will be rooting for Bronte, who works for South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and is currently based at Rotherham Fire Station, when the final airs on BBC One next weekend.

But her attention is now fixed on preparing for the upcoming Sheffield Half Marathon, which she will run in memory of Molly Midgley, her boyfriend's cousin, who tragically died of cancer aged just 27 in February.

Legacy lives on

Molly was diagnosed at the end of 2022, shortly after getting engaged to her partner, with a rare cancer called adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC).

She dedicated what time she had left to raising money to fund research into the cancer and to help others affected by the disease, raising tens of thousands of pounds for the cause with the help of her friends and family who rallied round to form Team Molly.

Molly Midgley tragically died aged just 27 of a rare cancer called adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC)Molly Midgley tragically died aged just 27 of a rare cancer called adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC)
Molly Midgley tragically died aged just 27 of a rare cancer called adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC)
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The young Sheffield solicitor tragically died on February 15 but her legacy lives on through Team Molly, who have no plans to give up the amazing work she started.

Bronte, who called Molly an 'inspiration', will be one of more than 50 people running the Sheffield Half Marathon in her memory to raise money for Weston Park Cancer Charity on Sunday, April 7.

Having battled her way past the mighty Gladiators and up the dreaded Travelator, you might expect Bronte, superwoman that she is, to take a half marathon in her stride.

But that is definitely not the case, she explains.

'She was an amazing woman'

"I'm not looking forward to it because I never run," the 23-year-old told The Star. "I'm more used to weightlifting and power training, and the furthest I've run before is 5km."

Running for Molly will help spur her on, however.

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"The whole time since she was diagnosed with cancer she was so kind," said Bronte. "She just wanted to help people. She had a really big heart and was so strong to be able to do what she did. She even ran the 10K last year while she was so poorly. She was an amazing woman."

Bronte said the team at Weston Park Cancer Centre, where Molly was treated by Dr Satya Garikipati, had been amazing and she and the rest of Team Molly were determined to show their gratitude by raising as much money as possible.

'The games were the fun part'

Bronte has been with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue since 2018 and says the experience of dealing with high-pressure incidents in her job had helped her overcome the worst the Gladiators could throw at her.

Asked what was the toughest challenge she had faced on the show, she said handling the pressure of being on camera was harder than the contests themselves.

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"I'm not used to having cameras in my face or speaking in front of lots of people so that was hard," she explained. "The games were the fun part, it was the other bits which were more daunting.

"But it was so good filming it at Sheffield Arena because it meant I had lots of my friends and family cheering me on and the majority of people in the audience were rooting for me too as the local contender."

Bronte told how she remains in touch with the other contenders and had met up a few times with the ones living locally. She added that the Gladiators had been 'really friendly and supportive'.

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She said she had been recognised a few times while attending incidents, mostly by children, and had become a minor celebrity within the fire service, with other firefighters asking for selfies to show their kids.

It's understood the success of the Gladiators reboot means it will be back on our screens for another series in 2025, though it's not known whether filming will again take place in Sheffield.

Bronte, who is sworn to secrecy about the outcome of the final, said she really hopes the show does stay in her home city.

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