City of Cape Town fire fighters play it forward
The City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service handed over a R50 000 donation to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. The money will go towards The Children’s Hospital Trust’s therapeutic playground project. Fire fighters raised the money at their last annual ball in 2019 and only now had the opportunity to hand over the gift. “Our fire fighters are at the coalface, saving lives every day and see first-hand how young lives are impacted by fire. They are the ones who run in to take the children out of burning homes and despite this heart-breaking task, they continue to follow up with the little ones when they’re in hospital,” said Alderman JP Smith, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security.
The City’s fire fighters have been fundraising for the hospital’s burns unit since 2009 but in 2012 they decided to grow their initiative with most of the funds being raised at an Annual Fire Fighters’ Ball.
The R50 000 they raised in 2019 was due to be handed over the following year but Covid-19 regulations halted it.
At the head of the project is Platoon Commander Anthony Hughes, who retires at the end of July with 40 years’ service.
“We used to visit the children in the wards, not only to follow their progress but to brighten their day and ours. They crept into our hearts as they are the ones who suffer most when there’s a fire. Many of them are scarred or maimed for life and have to stay in hospital for years. I’ve had help from my fellow fire fighters who came on board and although shift work made it difficult, those who could, lent a helping hand,” said Commander Hughes.
The donation is earmarked for the therapeutic playground project, which is an inclusive play area where children of all abilities can grow and learn through physical, sensory and social experiences.
“Our fire fighters have shown that not only do they put their lives on the line to provide an indispensable service crucial to the safety and security of all our residents but their dedication goes beyond the job. They put their hearts into it and their passion is to be commended,” said Alderman Smith.
Pauline Solomons, donor relations manager, Legacies and Community Fundraising for the Trust, thanked the fire fighters.
“The Children’s Hospital Trust is incredibly grateful for the loyal and generous donation from our City fire fighters. Thank you for keeping the little ones close to your hearts as 100 percent of this generous donation will go towards building the inclusive play areas. Most importantly, these play areas will bring so much value to burns patients who, through play therapy, will increase their skin mobility as well as aid in the sensory stimulation of their skin,” she said.
Source: Media Office, City of Cape Town