Autistic boy to visit Rother and Hastings as part of fire station challenge

Andrew Dane visits a fire station in Avonmouth.
Andrew Dane visits a fire station in Avonmouth.

Bexhill’s firefighters are helping a young lad with autism to fulfil his goal of visiting all the fire stations in the UK and Ireland.

Eleven-year-old Andrew Dane will be heading to Bexhill Fire Station in Beeching Road on Good Friday to meet the town’s fire crews.

Andrew Dane on a visit to Grantham Fire Station.

Andrew Dane on a visit to Grantham Fire Station.

Andrew, who lives in Portsmouth, is fascinated by the fire service and following a visit to his local stations in Cosham, Southsea and Havant in December 2014, he has now made it his mission to visit every fire station in the UK, Ireland and the Crown Dependencies – more than 2,330 in total.

As of early March, Andrew has visited more than 1,000 stations and associated buildings, including control rooms, headquarters and training centres.

Firefighter Martin Walker, of Bexhill Red Watch, met Andrew in 2016 when the youngster was a VIP guest at an event held by the United Kingdom Rescue Organisation at the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service HQ in Eastleigh.

When Bexhill Fire Station joined social networking website Twitter in February this year, Martin got in touch with Andrew and invited him to East Sussex to help tick a few more stations off his list.

Firefighter Walker said: “What I was going to do is come down and talk to him at the station and I’m going to escort him over to Hastings and Battle fire stations to see the specialist equipment that have got over there.

“Hastings has an Aerial Ladder Platform which is a high reaching ladder and Battle has a Rope Rescue Unit, like Bexhill, and the Technical Rescue Unit.”

During his visits, Andrew has met many firefighters who have been injured and have received help and support from the Fire Fighters Charity, prompting him to start fundraising for the organisation.

So far he has raised more than £1,800 to date.

Also on his journey, Andrew has raised awareness about autism, a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others, and helped to spread the word that the fire services do so much more than fighting fires.

To keep up to date with Andrew’s journey around the fire stations, visit his website at www.oneladschallenge.com

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