Page 9 - Hot News October 2014
P. 9
Firefighter Tony McAllister got a taste of the United States after he and his family were flown to New Orleans in a swap with a restaurant owner.
Tony, who was part of Blue Watch at Old Swan Community Fire Station at the time of filming, flew to America in June 2012 as part of the Twin Towns television programme, giving people from different places a taste
Johnny tried on some firefighter protective clothing and used a hose during a tour of the station. He also cooked a Chicken Green Thai Curry with the Watch and shared the meal with them.
of different cultures.
Tony, who has been a firefighter for 23 years, said: “It was a once in a lifetime experience that left an everlasting impression on us all. To travel 5,000 miles and be warmly embraced by Johnny’s family and friends, having been thrust into their lives, was both humbling and moving for us all. New Orleans was vibrant and should definitely be on your list of places to go and visit. The people of the city are very similar to scousers with their hospitality and humour and a real zest for life having been through so much adversity.”
Johnny Blancher, 37, from New Orleans is a restaurant owner who visited Liverpool with his wife, two daughters and son. The family stayed at Tony’s house and caught the sites of Liverpool, including the Beatles Museum.
They also visited Old Swan Community Fire Station and met Tony’s colleagues on Blue Watch, including Watch Manager Bob Guest.
Tony McAllister meets firefighters in New Orleans during his trip. Photo supplied by Tony McAllister.
Asked how he felt during the visit to
the station, he said: “It’s great. All
over the world brave men are
fighting fires and the UK has a great
crew here. I’m honoured to be with
these guys and to meet Tony’s
buddies. I hope he is having as great a time as me.
“When we were at Tony’s house and before we came to the fire station I said to my wife – ‘I’ve got a feeling he is a firefighter’.”
The show is part of a ten-part series and was broadcast last month.
Beacon Project Lights The Way
A new range of mini courses to help children in communities has started.
A “mini” Beacon Project course is being delivered in primary schools to help young people with their move to secondary school.
Suzy Tosi, who leads the delivery of the Beacon Project courses at our Service, said: “The five-week, one day a week course is aimed at young people who are transitioning from primary school into secondary school.
The aim of the course is to encourage young people to come out of their school environment and increase
their confidence, teambuilding and
communication skills.
“This new course sees us working with our partner agencies to support primary children to help encourage the children to contribute positively to the communities where they live and to help strengthen communities.
“The Youth Engagement Team have recently delivered three Primary Beacon courses to schools in Sefton and Liverpool including Springwell Primary, St Elizabeth’s Primary and Monksdown Primary.”
Our Service also runs a separate Beacon Project course for teenagers. The course is for young people who are 13 to 19-years-old, who may be experiencing difficulties in engaging with school or with their peers.
The Beacon Project course for teenagers aims to improve young people’s self-esteem and encourages self- development, which in turn aims to improve life chances for all young people. The Youth Engagement staff who facilitate all courses are a dedicated team of professionals who are seen as strong, positive and caring role models.
Courses are run at various Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service community fire stations across Merseyside. The year 2012 marked ten years since Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service started to run its Beacon Project course. More than 1,600 vulnerable young people have taken part in the courses.
Johnny joins Blue Watch to cook an evening meal during his tour of Old Swan Community Fire Station.
Some of the rural scenery in the New Orleans area. Photo supplied by Tony McAllister.
Photo: Karl Mansfield.
Photo of some of the primary school children who have completed the new course. Photo supplied by Suzy Tosi.

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