Dear Santa: please save fire station

Heanor Fire Station.
Heanor Fire Station.
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A Heanor mum is doing her best to honour her son’s Christmas wish after he asked Santa to save Heanor Fire Station from closure.

Every year Rebecca Patrick’s two boys write a letter to the North Pole asking for the usual toys and gifts.

But this year, her seven-year-old James, whose step-dad is a firefighter, was so worried at cost-cutting plans to close Heanor fire station by 2022, he made just the one wish - to keep it open.

Mum Rebecca said: “We were talking about the effect the closure would have and I’ve been doing a lot of work to help it stay open.

“Both my boys were worried saying - what if there is a fire and we can’t get out?

“It was just chit-chat at the time - but then James decided on what he wanted for Christmas!”

Marlpool Infants School pupil James, who celebrates his seventh birthday on Sunday, sat down and penned a letter on a festive–themed notepad.

He wrote: This is my greatest wish to save Heanor Fire Station from closure .

“My step-dad works at the fire station and is a brilliant firefighter.

“My step-dad puts out lots of fires and rescues lots of people, he is very strong and kind.

“It will be dangerous if we don’t have a fire station because everyone will have to wait ages to be rescued.”

When mum Rebecca, who regularly posts on a Facebook page set up to help save Heanor Fire Station, read the letter she said she was ‘humbled’.

“It’s nice to know he is interested in the things happening in his community,” she said.

Though young James did also hint that he would like a ‘Pokemon Catch and Pokeball”, popular children’s toys, as well for Christmas.

The changes, unveiled by Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service at the end of September propose to close Heanor, Crich and Alfreton stations and replace them with a new ‘super station’ in Ripley close to the A38.

The move could also see almost 80 firefighters’ jobs cut as bosses search to plug a 40 per cent reduction in the service’s budget by 2017.

Chief Fire Officer Sean Frayne said: “Ripley will stay open and take on responsibility for Alfreton, Crich and Heanor. A new station will also be built along the A38, which will be a more effective arrangement.

“Ripley will actually be getting a better level of service.

A total of eight new bases would be built to replace the 17 across the county by 2022.

Bosses say the changes would make for a more “efficient” fire service.

The plans went out to public consultation on October 1.

A “Fit to Respond” consultation event - took place at Ripley MarketPlace on Friday, November 3 with the public airing their views over the closure. Further consultation events are planned for Friday, November 22, from 9.30 until 3pm at The Springs Shopping Centre in Buxton and then on Thursday, November 28, at Chesterfield Market Place, from 9.30am until 4pm.

Consultation questionnaires are available to fill in online at derbys-fire.gov.uk.

The Save Heanor Fire Station Facebook page now has more than 500 ‘likes’.