Two Lincolnshire students are saving lives across the county after flagging up the dangers of being careless during the scorching summer months.
Mackenzie Weir, 11, and Lillie-May Pidgley, 10, were guests at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue headquarters last week, where they were each rewarded for their efforts - and given a new project to protect more people from unnecessary fires over Halloween and the Bonfire Night period.
It was at the height of the summer holidays when Mackenzie and Lillie-May, who are related, were sitting on the steps of Spilsby Theatre and heard the siren of the local Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue crew.
“We were sat drawing when we heard the fire engine,” recalled Mackenzie, who was in HQ with Lillie-May busily working on a new poster campaign for social media.
“I’d seen on television about the fires in Greece and the ones in the UK, so when we heard the fire engine in Spilsby we decided to do some posters to put up around town to warn people to be careful with what they throw away.”
The pals are both members of Spilsby New Life Centre and, as they needed help to put the posters up around town, they went along to see what could be done.
“That’s when all this started,” said Lillie-May, who attends Spilsby Primary School. “David Bruce who runs the centre took a picture of a poster to put on social media and tagged in the local Fire and Rescue.”
Mackenzie, who attends the Giles Academy in New Leake and now lives in Alford, and Lillie-May arrived at HQ in style in a fire car, driven by Lee Marsh, Community Fire Safety Officer.
“They asked if we could have the blue light flashing but we couldn’t do that,” laughed Lee.
However, he explained the trip was a treat and although they were being asked to do another poster there were plenty of sweets as an incentive and, as well as receiving an award from Area Manager for Planning, Prevention and Protection Simon York for helping to saves lives, they would also visit the Lincoln North HQ to watch a drill and the control at South Park.
“During the summer it was incredibly hot. The county became as dry as a tinderbox and we had an unprecedented number of calls to deal with fires in fields, woodland and the dunes near beaches - around 550 calls across the county.
“We were impressed how Mackenzie and Lillie-May had recognised how busy we were and, not only that, wanted to flag up the dangers of carelessly discarding cigarettes or disposable barbecues.
“That is why we are asking for their help with a new social media poster campaign highlighting the dangers around Halloween and Bonfire Night.
“There is every chance we could expect summers like the one we have just had in future years.
“Campaigns like this help to protect the community and an area of natural beauty so it doesn’t get destroyed by fire and others can enjoy it.”