Stu­dents ful­fil a burn­ing am­bi­tion

Sunderland Echo - - News - By Daniel Prince daniel.prince@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @daniel­prince18

Stu­dents re­alised their burn­ing am­bi­tion when they paid a visit to a Sun­der­land fire sta­tion.

ESPA Col­lege South Hill, which caters for young adults with autism and learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties, vis­ited Sun­der­land Cen­tral Fire Sta­tion, on Rail­way Row.

The stu­dents had a tour of the fire sta­tion and put their ques­tions to fire­fight­ers as they gained prac­ti­cal, hand­son ex­pe­ri­ence.

The visit was part of the col­lege’s en­rich­ment projects which run along­side its aca­demic cur­ricu­lum.

Wendy Han­nah, ESPA Col­lege South Hill events co­or­di­na­tor, said: “The idea be­hind the fire sta­tion tour was so our stu­dents could meet the real peo­ple who put their lives on the line in the name of pub­lic safety.

“The stu­dents en­joyed sit­ting in the fire ap­pli­ance, learn­ing a lit­tle about the run­ning of the sta­tion and us­ing the pow­er­ful wa­ter hose.

“They also had a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity to ask ques­tions at the end.

“The stu­dents gained a bril­liant in­sight by be­ing hands on rather than class­room based.

“A big thank you to the sta­tion of­fi­cer and his crew for their pa­tience and en­thu­si­asm in mak­ing our visit in­for­ma­tive and suc­cess­ful.”

ESPA Col­lege South Hill is based off the Cedars, in Ash­brooke, and all stu­dents there have autism and mod­er­ate to pro­found learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties.

The col­lege aims to of­fer a vi­brant and ex­ten­sive cur­ricu­lum from within the build­ing and in a range of com­mu­nity set­tings.

A num­ber of stu­dents had a par­tic­u­larly keen in­ter­est in the visit to the fire sta­tion.

So­phie Gray, 18, was ex­cited as her fa­ther was a re­tained fire­fighter in Cleve­land for 21 years.

So­phie took along some of her fa­ther’s medals, in­clud­ing the Queens Golden Ju­bilee Medal and Long Ser­vice Medal for 20 years’ ser­vice, to show the fire­fight­ers.

So­phie asked why they chose to be fire­fight­ers and the over­whelm­ing an­swer was to help peo­ple.

Hugo Tyrrell, 23, was very ex­cited for the visit as he has a par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est in emer­gency ser­vice ve­hi­cles.

Ben Mat­tin­son, 21, par­tic­u­larly loved the prac­ti­cal side, learn­ing how the wa­ter comes from the hose and the equip­ment on board the ap­pli­ance.

Stu­dent Ben Mat­tin­son with fire­fighter James Parkin­son.

South Hill Col­lege stu­dents visit Sun­der­land Cen­tral Fire Sta­tion. Stu­dents from left Ben, Mat­tin­son, Ross Aitchi­son, So­phie Gray and Hugo Tyrrell. Fire­fight­ers from left, Chris Cook and James Parkin­son

Stu­dent Hugh Tyrrell

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