Village pupils enjoy private fire station tour after charity collection on hottest day ever

Ronnie Hampton, Mathew Gravell, Oliver, Jasmine, Sarah and Alex Harvey at Billingshurst Fire Station
Ronnie Hampton, Mathew Gravell, Oliver, Jasmine, Sarah and Alex Harvey at Billingshurst Fire Station

Two Billingshurst children were invited to the fire station after spending part of the summer holidays raising money for charity.

Five-year-old Jasmine and eight-year-old Oliver Harvey enjoyed a private tour of the station as a thank you from the fire service, after they raised more than £40 for The Fire Fighters Charity selling ice lollies during the heatwave.

The entrepreneurial pair set up a stall outside the family home on Thursday, July 25, which was the hottest day on record in the UK.

A temperature of 38.7 degrees Celsius was reached in Cambridge, the Met Office said.

Mum, Sarah said: “Jasmine came up with the idea of holding an ice lolly sale, and we planned it for the Thursday.

“It just so happened that it turned out to be the hottest day of the year. They couldn’t have planned it any better really!

“It was lovely how the community really came out to support them – people we hadn’t even met before came along to support the stall after Mathew put a post out on the fire station’s twitter account. It was so lovely to realise just what a supportive and friendly community we live in here.”

The primary school pupils were inspired to make the donation by neighbour Andreas Hajiantoni, an on-call firefighter based at the village’s fire station.

After learning about their venture, Billingshurst crew manager Mathew Gravell swung by the stall on Thursday morning to see how they were getting on, and invited them along with mum and dad, Sarah and Alex Harvey, for a tour of their fire station to try their hand at being a firefighter.

During the private tour, Mathew and firefighter Ronnie Hampton showed them around the village’s fire engine, taught them how to use a hose pipe, and the importance of CPR.

The enterprising youngsters also presented the crew with their takings of £44.80 from the sale of their homemade ice lollies.

Mathew added: “When we heard that Jasmine and Oliver were holding an ice lolly sale in aid of The Fire Fighters Charity I just knew we had to pop by and say hello and to thank them for all of their hard work.

“But they had put so much thought into this that we really wanted to do something more for them, which is why we invited them along to the station too.

“It was an absolute pleasure to show them around the fire station, they definitely enjoyed working the sirens on the appliance.

“But we were also able to share some really important fire safety messages with them too, which they will be able to share with their friends.”

Sarah said the children had been so excited for their visit.

She added: “They had been looking forward to it all through the weekend after Mathew came to see them.

“Oliver, especially, had a great time visiting the fire station. Since he was very young he has always been curious about ladders – if there’s one left out he always has to climb it. And if there’s a hose pipe in the garden he will make a beeline for it.

“Clearly we have a firefighter in the making with him!”

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