New Red Cross vehicle ‘invaluable’ gift for emergency support service

Presentation of new vehicle to the Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support Service at East Preston PICTURE: DAVE McHUGH

Presentation of new vehicle to the Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support Service at East Preston PICTURE: DAVE McHUGH

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A NEW emergency response vehicle costing £48,000 has been funded by the Freemasons’ Grand Charity.

The vehicle is based in East Preston but works across West Sussex for the Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support Service (FESS).

The Red Cross service works with the emergency services to help and support people hit by a crisis such as a house fire, evacuation, industrial accident or flood.

Fully-trained FESS volunteers are on call around the clock, ready to go to the scene of an emergency, bringing practical and emotional support to the victims.

Benjamin Jenkins, Sussex emergency response service manager, said: “The vehicle has been invaluable in providing a safe and comfortable environment to those in crisis across Sussex in the short span of time that we have had it.”

The new vehicle, now in service, is a replacement for the previous one used by the team.

This year alone, the East Preston FESS team has attended 13 incidents across West Sussex and provided support to 54 crisis victims and 90 firefighters.

The East Preston volunteers have also supported their neighbouring team in Hastings during the large Skip-It in Newhaven.

Jon Mays, station manager at East Preston Fire Station, said: “The Fire Emergency Support Service and Red Cross volunteers make an invaluable contribution at the scene of emergency incidents.

“The respite, reassurance and advice they provide to families affected or displaced by fire allows us to fully concentrate on our firefighting operation.”

The Freemasons’ Grand Charity has contributed £2million to the British Red Cross over the past 30 years and regularly supports the charity’s UK work.

Laura Chapman, chief executive of the Freemasons’ Grand Charity, said: “The FESS enables the Red Cross to support people in crisis, which is a key concern for Freemasons and why we are delighted to have donated nearly £50,000 for a new vehicle for Sussex.”

Mark Astarita, British Red Cross director of fundraising, said: “We are delighted to have The Freemason’s Grand Charity supporting us. This donation has allowed us to continue to deliver a valuable service across Sussex and beyond. We cannot thank them enough for their continued support.”

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