THE emergency services took centre stage at an event to celebrate the importance of their work.
The annual 999 Day returned to Beachlands, at the seafront on Hayling Island yesterday.
More than 1,500 people went along to the day to learn more about a range of services, including South Central Ambulance Service, the Red Cross, St John Ambulance, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, plus many more.
Peter Halkyard, from Hayling Island Community Responders, which organised the event, said they were pleased to see such a big response to the day.
He said: ‘It is getting bigger every year. It is good to make people aware of the volunteer services in the area that they can become a member of. The skills they learn will help them in their lives. If you can learn first aid, you might save somebody’s life.’
Various activities took place all day, including a Spitfire flypast.
There were demonstrations which saw dramatic rescue from a flaming caravan and also a boat that had caught fire. The day ended with a sunset ceremony and lowering of naval flags led by the Blendworth Brass Band.
There were plenty of stalls for guests to enjoy, including one from Hampshire Search and Rescue Service, which is based at Netley.
Nicki Murray, a search technician from the voluntary organisation, said: ‘We have had a lot of support, it’s been brilliant. Events like these are extremely important for raising our profile. We are totally self-funded so events like this make a big difference.’
Ron Allen, 67, was enjoying the event with his three-year-old grandson, Jack Allen, from Leigh park.
Ron, from Petersfield, said: ‘We have been in the fire engine. It’s been absolutely splendid.’
Deputy mayor of Havant Elaine Shimbart was also at the event.
The Ubique Right of the Line fired a salute to her as she met Christine Fournier, the deputy mayor of Gorron, Hayling’s twin town in France.
Cllr Shimbart said: ‘It has been brilliant. I came four years ago and it has certainly grown since then.
‘It is great to see such a good turnout.’