An­nual lolly run spreads hol­i­day joy

If you pick a wa­ter­fight with fire­fight­ers, you’re go­ing to lose. Kar­ratha Vol­un­teer Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice’s an­nual Christ­mas lolly run be­gan last week, to the de­light of lo­cals, big and small. It’s part of a 30-year tra­di­tion pay­ing trib­ute to the comm

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Ali­cia Perera

In a tran­si­tional town such as Kar­ratha, there are few com­mu­nity tra­di­tions that have con­tin­ued for more than 30 years.

But that is some­thing to which the Kar­ratha Vol­un­teer Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice’s an­nual Santa’s lolly run can proudly lay claim.

Ev­ery year in the fort­night be­fore Christ­mas, Kar­ratha res­i­dents can look for­ward to see­ing a con­voy of fire trucks, in­clud­ing the vin­tage fire en­gine af­fec­tion­ately known as the Bed­ford, drive through ev­ery street in ev­ery sub­urb de­liv­er­ing lol­lies to wav­ing on­look­ers and giv­ing non-wav­ing ones a soak­ing from the wa­ter can­non. They even take Santa along for the ride.

It is a sweet tra­di­tion that brings the whole Kar­ratha com­mu­nity out to their front verges to watch.

KVFRS fire­fighter and for­mer cap­tain Mike Booth said the team does it all for res­i­dents.

“The rea­son we do it is to give some­thing back to the com­mu­nity,” he said.

“We enjoy it. There’s great ca­ma­raderie with all of us and we have fun with the pub­lic.”

His daugh­ter and fel­low fire­fighter Kendy Booth agreed.

“It’s the one time of year we get to go and thank the com­mu­nity for their sup­port through­out year,” she said.

That said, it is a com­mu­nity event on a mas­sive scale.

The run takes a stag­ger­ing 120kg of lol­lies, do­nated ev­ery year by the El­li­son Broth­ers, and 3000 litres of wa­ter to fill the main fire truck’s wa­ter can­non.

For the fire­fight­ers and Santa, it takes ev­ery af­ter­noon for two weeks to cover the town. Not ev­ery­one en­joys the dis­play. KVFRS of­fi­cer Kayne Kip­ping said sleep­ing night shift work­ers some­times had an axe to grind when they drove by, sirens blar­ing.

Bri­gade life mem­ber Alan Atkins was part of the orig­i­nal ser­vice that be­gan the lolly run over three decades ago.

He re­mem­bers when it was a lit­tle sim­pler.

“We started it be­cause the town was small,” he said.

“It was lit­er­ally just Bul­garra, Pegs Creek, Mil­lars Well, and a very few houses in Nickol.”

He said though the town’s huge growth since meant the run took much more time and ef­fort, they didn’t re­gret start­ing it.

“There’s so much of the town that looks for­ward to it ev­ery year,” he said.

“Some peo­ple were ask­ing about it on Face­book weeks ago, say­ing ‘when is the lolly run on?’.”


Pic­ture: Ali­cia Perera

Pic­tures: Ali­cia Perera

Kar­ratha VFRS fire­fight­ers Mike Booth and Sa­manta Ste­wart with Santa in front of the old Bed­ford fire en­gine.

Adults and chil­dren alike wave as the trucks pass.

A group waves from their gate.

Res­i­dents wave from their drive­way.

Dressed up for the oc­ca­sion.

Santa and the KVFRS fire­fight­ers.

A fam­ily waves from their back­yard.

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