A WEEK of conquering fears and boosting confidence left not a dry eye in the house – or fire station, in this case.
Shoreham Fire Station held its first FireBreak course for children across the area with Down’s syndrome in August.
Eight young members of charity Worthing Kids and Dapper Snapper, all aged between eight and 12, and coming from Worthing, Littlehampton and Shoreham, spent five days at the Stoney Lane station, learning first aid and a little bit about being a firefighter.
Michelle Hodges and Lucy Keeffe, from the charity, were also there, and Lucy, from Littlehampton, saw the week from two perspectives, as her son, Joshua, 12, was one of the conscripts.
“It has been amazing to see the kids doing so many things for themselves,” she said.
“Little things, like getting dressed on their own – they have been in and out of their kits so many times.
“It’s been fantastic watching Joshua and how he has dealt with it, because now I have faith that what ever situation he is in, he will pull it off.”
Todd Wilson, 10, from Worthing, was also on the course, and his parents, Lydia and Dave, said he had loved it.
“It’s been really fantastic for him,” said Lydia.
“He was a bit scared on the first day, but since then he has just been really excited.”
Katie Froggatt, eight, from Durrington, said her favourite part had been climbing a long ladder, three times, despite being scared of heights.
“Because I want to be on Wipe Out,” she told the Herald.
Youth team instructor for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, Angela Gates, said the course, which usually runs for secondary school pupils, had been slightly adapted to suit the children, and she hoped to make a special needs FireBreak course an annual occurrence.
Others to take part were Nathan Hickman, Finlay Hodges, Jack Trundle, Alice Wheeler and Grace Woolnough.