Portchester fire crews celebrate with families helped by its £8,000 Christmas collections

FIREFIGHTERS threw a celebration for families facing hard times who have benefited from money raised in their Christmas appeals.

Monday, 7th October 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 7th October 2019, 7:05 am
Portchester firefighters have staged a celebration at their station for recipients of money they collected from their Christmas fundraising events. From left, Emonie Saint-Ledger (10) and her brother Harry (eight), with Martin White of the Fire Engine Preservation Group and firefighter Jasper Taylor making balloon models. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (061019-2)

Crew members at Portchester Fire Station have dished out more than £8,000 to good causes thanks to the public’s generosity at their 2017 and 2018 festive collections.

The rounds saw them wow youngsters with vintage fire engines in Portchester’s precinct and take one of the retro vehicles s around the village’s neighbourhoods.

Initiatives including The Fire Fighters Charity and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance have benefited from the money.

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Portchester firefighters have staged a celebration at their station for recipients of money they collected from their Christmas fundraising events. (l to r), Christine Taylor with her grandson Ellis Treeby (two), and Kerry James of the Firefighters Charity. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (061019-6)

But the station’s firefighters also went the extra mile to find families of children with life-changing conditions who need their help.

Crews gave Portchester mum-of-two Fiona Lear some money after doctors found her son, Harry, had an inoperable brain tumour last February.

The youngster, now eight, had only gone to Queen Alexandra Hospital with a suspected ear infection.

‘The tumour has meant it’s bucket list time for Harry and he has always wanted a puppy, so that’s what we bought with the money – he thought it was the most amazing thing,’ said Fiona, 48.

Portchester firefighters have staged a celebration at their station for recipients of money they collected from their Christmas fundraising events. Nicola Montague with her son Finlay (four), with Paul Strong of the Fire Engine Preservation Group and the Mayor of Fareham Councillor Pamela Bryant. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (061019-8)

‘It’s an incredible thing [the firefighters] do and we’re so thankful for their generosity.’

Burgers and hot dogs were served from 1pm as the celebration got under way at Portchester Fire Station yesterday.

Families also got the chance to mingle, see two vintage fire engines and play a firefighting game with a mock-up house and a hose.

Maisie Stocks, 17, and her mother, Justine, heaped praise on to Portchester crews for a donation they made to the Dwarf Sports Association (DSA) with the Christmas cash.

Portchester firefighters have staged a celebration at their station for recipients of money they collected from their Christmas fundraising events. Firefighter Simon Hart with children Marlee (five), and Zoey (two).Picture: Ian Hargreaves (061019-7)

It came after Ellis, the grandson of firefighter and station community inclusion coordinator, Jasper Taylor, was born with dwarfism.

‘This money will help us get more dwarfs involved in sport to compete at a more moderate level with each other,' said Maisie, from Hampshire.

Justine added: ‘The fact the station wanted to fundraise for us is incredible.’

Mr Taylor thanked the Portchester community for making the fundraising possible.

Portchester firefighters have staged a celebration at their station for recipients of money they collected from their Christmas fundraising events.Picture: Ian Hargreaves (061019-5)

‘The support we get from people when we’re out collecting is fantastic,’ he said.

‘Today’s a celebration of that commitment to the community and the people we are able to help.’

Portchester firefighters have staged a celebration at their station for recipients of money they collected from their Christmas fundraising events. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (061019-4)
Portchester firefighters have staged a celebration at their station for recipients of money they collected from their Christmas fundraising events. (l to r), Councillor Roger Price with station manager Dean Hodges and watch manager Martin Earl. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (061019-3)
Portchester firefighters have staged a celebration at their station for recipients of money they collected from their Christmas fundraising events. (l to r), manning the barbecue, Paul McKay and firefighter Matt Castleton. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (061019-1)