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