Fire service mascot Andrew Impey takes on new fundraiser

Fire service mascot Andrew Impey takes on cycle fundraising challenge

The 10 year old is cycling to six fire stations to raise cash for The Fire Fighters Charity
04 July 2016

One of the fire service’s biggest – and smallest – fans has taken on a new mission to raise cash for the charity closest to his heart.

Andrew Impey, 10, who is autistic, is going to cycle to six stations across the county as he travels to Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service HQ in Eastleigh.

His 35-mile journey will also take him to Porchester, Wickham, Botley, Southsea and Cosham.

The schoolboy has raised more than his £1,000 target for the Fire Fighters Charity and hopes to add to it with the bike ride on July 16 and his ongoing challenge to visit every fire station in the UK.

He hopes firefighters will be able to join him as he cycles through the streets of Hampshire.

He has already stopped off at about 700 in his epic quest and transformed his room into a fire station.

He dreams of completing his challenge on his 18th birthday - before starting work for the fire service the next day.

There are about 2,000 stations across Britain but Andrew plans to include emergency services based at airports and those in Ireland.

Andrew, from Cosham, said:

“I love the fire service and sitting in the fire engine.

“I wanted to do something to help firefighters and raise awareness of autism.

“I think they do an amazing job, not everyone knows all the things they do besides fighting fires.”

His journey has spanned thousands of miles starting with those covered by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service before picking off counties on the way up to Scotland.

Fire crews have welcomed the schoolboy who has documented his travels on Twitter and Facebook and has been given hundreds of trinkets and bits of kit from firefighters.

He has stored and displayed equipment in his bedroom and even put a fire map on the wall to recreate the look of a station.

Other items bought from fire expos are also on show.

Stations from Canada and the US learned about his quest on social media and sent him firefighter- related gifts.

Andrew – who is known by his first and middle names Andrew Dane on social media – has developed an encyclopaedic knowledge of the fire service and even reads the trade press to keep up to date.

His journey started when his parents took him to Havant station on Christmas Eve 2014.

Mum Kirstine, who works in a care home, said:

“Before this he would hardly talk, couldn’t read and was struggling at school.

“All that has changed. The fire service has given us a child we just didn’t have before.”

Dad Paul, a civil servant, said:

“He has always been interested in firefighting and now, after taking him on these visits, so are we.

“The firefighters are such good role models and we can’t believe how Hampshire Fire and Rescue have welcomed us into their blue light family.”

He went on to say Andrew is the unofficial world record holder for visiting the most fire stations however, the Guinness Book of Records officials ruled the category was invalid as the buildings are not completely accessible by the public.

People are still donating on his JustGiving page.