Friday, 22 May 2009

Cornwall's Fire Brigade show the way

Last week I attended the Camborne Town Council Annual meeting which included a fantastic awards ceremony for outstanding achievements from local residents during the year which proved that community spirit is alive and kicking in Camborne.

Among those honoured were Roy Kelynack who has served Camborne Town Band and the local Scouts for decades; Tom and Jackie Gray for their working with the local judo club; Debbie Stokes for her outstanding work with the girls at the T14ers dance group (and she received very audible support from the T14ers present at the meeting as she collected her award!) and Lani Anthoney, aged six, who had helped rescue a friend from a swimming pool.

After the awards we were given an inspiring presentation from Tim and Dillon from the Phoenix project being run by Cornwall Fire Brigade in conjunction with local schools. Phoenix is a fantastic project that aims to instill discipline, team work and confidence in boys from local schools.

Tim relayed a touching anecdote about a boy who was mute and had been sent on the course in the hope it might build his confidence and get him talking again. At the start of the week he would say nothing at all. By the end of the week, he was ready to give a small public speech to the parents gathered at the awards ceremony. What an achievement. I spoke to Tim aftwerwards and said I would love to come along to see their work.

I had been told to make sure I wasn't late. I remembered it was 2 O'clock today and so arrived at Redruth Fire Station 5 minutes early - but I must have got my timings wrong because most of the parents were already there. Tim was talking about how they were also running courses for parents and other people who would benefit from a bit of hose drill (he looked my way at this point - yes, I was defintely late after all!).

However, I was in good time for the main demonstration from the team at Camborne school. Tim takes no prisoners and expects parents to set a good example too - we were all told to get our hands out our pockets before the demonstration started. Quite right too.

It was really impressive. Today the exercise was to put out three fires: one in a car and to rescue a casualty from it, second to put out a fire in a building and thirdly, to rescue and provide first aid to another casualty inside the building (wearing respiratory gear).

The aim behind the project is simple: to offer routine, structure and discipline and, in the process, develop confidence and a sense of responsibility. The boys from Camborne school clearly benefited from it and were given awards at the end. So congratulations to Tommy, Darren, Liam, Jack, Jordan, Michael, Joseph, Jamie, Scott and Thomas.