A group of Tyne and Wear fire cadets are heading to Buckingham Palace today (Tuesday, 31 January) to collect a national award for voluntary work in their local community.
The West Denton fire cadet unit will receive the Youth United Social Action Award in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales, who is the patron of the Youth United Foundation.
The group of 15 cadets, aged between 11 and 18, won the award for their work alongside young people from the North Benwell Youth Project in a community clean-up day in and around the Farndale Park area of Newcastle.
Fire cadets living in the immediate area recognised the emerging problems and asked to be involved in the day of action to give something back to their community. They spent a day collecting 78kg of refuse from the back lanes of the area.
In leading by example, the cadets not only physically removed the refuse but also encouraged other young people to become involved and understand the impact they can make to improve where they live.
Assistant Chief Fire officer Chris Lowther, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “All our cadets do an excellent job in promoting fire safety and carrying out voluntary work in their communities, and we are extremely proud that the West Denton unit have earned national recognition for their hard work and dedication.
“This represents an amazing opportunity for our young people to attend such a prestigious venue and is fantastic recognition for not only their work but also for youth work across Newcastle.”
Fire cadet Johnny Hunter, 15, said: “I feel very privileged and proud of the cadets and Newcastle. I hope that other fire cadet units will be inspired to do the same as we have. We have helped our local community and had great fun while doing it. I am very excited to be going to Buckingham Palace to receive the award, I’m certain it will be an experience I will never forget.”
Rachel Coates, 17, said: “I am very proud and excited. This whole experience is overwhelming, and winning this award with the rest of the unit, my friends, makes me very happy.”
Watch Manager Karen Soady, who is an instructor with West Denton fire cadets, said: “We have a truly inspirational group of young people who are always willing to take on any challenge they are presented with. No is not a word in their vocabulary. Their enthusiasm and drive to enhance their community is an excellent example to all young people of what can be achieved by working together.
“It is a privilege to represent not only the fire cadets and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service but also the North East, which is a great honour.”
Tyne and Wear Fire Authority Chairman, Cllr Tom Wright, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for the fire cadets and I congratulate them on this prestigious award. They are a credit to themselves, their families and the fire and rescue service.”
Information provided by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service