YOUNG firefighter hopeful Andrew Impey has been nominated to become an honorary member of a world-class firefighter department.
The 11-year-old, from Southsea, has won admiration and attention from across the pond with his quest to visit all 2,500 fire stations in England by the time he turns 18.
I am really looking forward to seeing new fire engines and meeting more firefightersAndrew Impey
He has already raised £1,700 for The Fire Fighters Charity and ticked off his 999th station, including visiting all the stations in the county run by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Now, he is set to fly out with his parents to America to meet with firefighters from the New York City Fire Department.
Andrew, who is autistic, said: ‘I can’t believe it. I am really looking forward to seeing new fire engines and meeting more firefighters.
‘I hope to visit all the fire stations in the country by the time I am 18, going to the last one the day before I start work as a firefighter for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.’
Andrew, who has big ambitions to become a firefighter, has decorated his bedroom with 800 bits of equipment, including helmets, a mini-set of breathing apparatus, a control room-style map of Hampshire and a firefighters’ pole.
On the trip, Andrew will visit Ground Zero where 343 firefighters were killed responding in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in 2001.
The schoolboy also hopes to see the Statue of Liberty from a fire boat and present a gift bearing the logo of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.
While in America, the family will stay with a historian associated with the Fire Department, who heard of Andrew’s mammoth journey.
Andrew’s mum Kirstine, who works in a care home, said: ‘It is an amazing opportunity, we still can’t believe it.
‘I don’t think it has sunk in for Andrew yet that he will be getting to see a completely different world.
‘I am looking forward to seeing how excited he is going to be – he will be over the moon.’
Assistant chief officer Andy Bowers, who was one of 1,800 firefighters invited to the youngster’s birthday party, said: ‘Andrew is very much a member of the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service family and we are delighted he has been given this opportunity.
‘His fundraising efforts and passion for the fire service is remarkable as is the commitment of his family who have already taken him all over the country.
‘We look forward to hearing about his transatlantic adventures.’
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