Last Saturday I was very lucky to be invited to UKRO 2016 as their VIP.
It was amazing, despite the rain. I spent all day looking at the competitions – and there were many – looking at the stalls, having lunch with the other VIP’s AND meeting loads of my friends. There were fire fighters from all over the UK, and believe it or not, there were fire fighters from places I haven’t yet been to (Sorry Northumberland – I will get to see your fire stations at some point soon).
I got to see all the big tech equipment from Holmatro (Boys don’t grow up – their toys just get bigger and more expensive!!!!) and got to meet Ian Dunbar as well. The guys from Holmatro had even put together a bumper give away goody bag – it was Awesome!!!!! Thanks to Ian and the rest of the Holmatro Team.
In the evening I was invited to the Closing Ceremony at Flemming Park in Eastleigh. It was everything a closing ceremony should be. Lots of people, music, lights and lots of gold. I must admit, at this point I was getting a little bit nervous…there were quite a lot of people there and I was going to be giving out the first award: The Peoples Choice Award. But I was brave and went up on stage, I was given the envelope with the name of the winning team – and read out London Extraction Team, without any problems. It felt really good.
Then followed all the awards for best team, best team leader, best medic for Rope Rescue, then for Heavy rescue, then water rescue, USAR….I’m sure I’ve missed some out (there were loads). Finally it was time to announce the overall winners, it was nerve racking – so many of my friends were sitting there I wanted them all to win. But in competitions like this there can only be one overall winner…. And the overall winners of UKRO 2016 is BRIGDEND, SOUTH WALES!!!!
Everyone stood up and clapped, it was loud and special. The team had to walk past me to get to the stage, and they were all shaking my hand and ‘High Fiving’ me. But as the last guy went past me, he turned around and grabbed my hand and took me up on to the stage with the rest of the team. I felt very privileged and proud to be there with them – I was an honorary Welsh Man holding the Welsh Flag (See Beci – I’m almost Welsh).
After that the ceremony was over, and it was time to go home. But before I left , the guys from London Extrication team (the ones who won the Peoples Choice) came over to talk to me. They said that I was a little hero and that I should have won the Peoples Choice (I could’t as I wasn’t a team and didn’t take part in the competition) – and then they gave me the award and said it was mine!!!! I couldn’t believe it. AND I was left speechless – doesn’t happen very often around fire fighters….
I had an absolutely fantastic day and evening at UKRO 2016, thanks to Steve Apter and the UKRO team. Now that I know what happens at UKRO I would very much like to come again.
Just a warning to Humberside FRS – I’ve already booked my hotel room and as soon as mum knows which secondary school I’m going to she will be applying for time off school so I can attend both days.