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SPECTACULAR: North East bid for world rescue championships

SPECTACULAR: North East bid for world rescue championships

Festival of Rescue on the banks of the River Tyne, Image: NCJ Media

Firefighters from across the world could flock to the North East for a repeat of an “absolutely spectacular” festival showcasing incredible rescue skills.

The Newcastle and Gateshead Quayside played host to the two-day Festival of Rescue last month, in which 25 fire and rescue services from around the UK competed in a series of dramatic challenges to test their life-saving abilities.

After proving a big hit with the crowds that gathered on the waterfront to watch the event, the region’s leaders are now keen to host the world championships in 2025.

Chris Lowther, chief fire officer for Tyne and Wear, told councillors on Monday morning that September’s challenge had been a “resounding success” set against the backdrop of the “iconic” Quayside.

At a meeting of the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority, Newcastle councillor Ged Bell added: “The team did such a good job and demonstrated the experience and expertise we have to fire crews across the country and also showcased the North East in the way that it should be, as a first class location to come for major events.

“I would like to make sure we are able to attract the world event, which would be fantastic not only for Newcastle and Gateshead but for the whole country.”

Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes was also among those hopeful that the North East could attract the World Rescue Challenge in 2025, with local officials preparing to submit a bid to host the event by the end of next month.

While details of the bid are still being worked on, it is thought that the event could be extended beyond the Quayside to bring some of the challenges to other parts of the region.

More than 50 international emergency service teams compete in the championships each year, with previous instalments having been staged in locations such as South Africa, New Zealand, and Brazil.

Speaking about the success of the Festival of Rescue, Coun Forbes added: “I was there for around four hours on the Saturday and it was really gripping. The engagement with families and with kids is a measure of success. I bumped into some friends with a seven-year-old daughter and she was convinced on the basis of that day that she wanted to be a firefighter.

“I hope it has inspired the next generation of firefighters to get involved.”

The dramatic simulations showcased during last month’s showcase, the biggest event of its kind ever staged in the UK, included pulling trapped victims from crumpled cars, water rescues on the Tyne, and demonstrations of huge chip pan blazes.

Sunderland councillor Alex Samuels called the event “absolutely spectacular”.


Words: Daniel Holland, Local Democracy Reporter

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