Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Teenage firefighter branded “political pawn” after being “banned” from passing out parade

ESSEX FIRE BRIGADE have defended their decision to “ban” a 13-year-old female firefighter from her passing out parade as she intended to snub a senior officer.

William Edwards student, Samantha Graham had undertaken the seventeen week junior firefighting course in Thurrock. The culmination of the course was the passing out parade at Grays fire station on Friday where in front of transport minister, Mike Penning, young Sam would show all that she had learned in a mock-training exercise.

But according to her mother, Marion, Sam was not prepared to shake the hand of the assistant chief fire officer, Gary Fleming.

Sam’s father, James, is a fire officer and is part of an ongoing industrial dispute about pay and conditions.

According to her mother, Marian, Sam was informed that as she had indicated she would not shake hands with the commanding officer, it was best that she did not attend.

Essex Fire and Rescue Service (EFRS) has confirmed this. Deputy Chief Fire Officer (DCFO) Adam Eckley said:

“This was a local management decision and entirely based on the whole ethos of our successful Young Fire Fighters course, which underlines fire service values and behaviours.

“These values are set out on the first day of the course, when students sign a behavioural contract promising to be respectful at all times, pledging that they will not discriminate, bully and will respect people’s differences without making them feel awkward and uncomfortable.

The pass out ceremony is a celebration to mark the successful completion of the 17-week course and the 13-year-old girl in question made the decision to leave the course after being told she would have to join in all events on the programme, including shaking the hand of Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACFO) Gary Fleming, the senior ECFRS manager presenting pass out certificates that night. It is baffling to us why a teenager would not want to shake the hand of a senior officer.”

The next day, Sam was part of a group of fire officers who attended the Hard Rock Calling concerts at Hyde Park. Sam was pictured with Rage against the Machine guitarist, Tom Morello.

EFRS has taken a dim view of this. DCFO Eckley said: “It is sad that this event has been built up into an FBU publicity stunt at a young girl’s expense. The 13-year-old was even paraded around by FBU militants on stage at a pop concert in Hyde Park the next day as a ‘treat’ for this behaviour, shaking the hand of FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack. People must draw their own conclusions.”

10 COMMENTS

  1. I am the mother of Samantha, and I am more than prepared to say that MR ECKLEY is a LIAR…..ask to see her signature.

    Get him to PROVE ANYTHING that he has said,

    FACT: she did go to Hyde Park Concert the next day,she did shake hands with Matt Wrack, if this makes her poilitcal, when she shook hands with Tom Morello does this her a Bands member……Would anyone have known about this if it weren’t for LYING ECKLEY…would any of you readers have heard about this if LYING ECKLEY hadn’t brought it up.

    Has any one heard anything political from the “FBU militants” .

    Anything political has come from LYING ECKLEY.

    You can draw your own conclusions, which leads to the fact, that LYING ECKLEY doesn’t believe my daughter can think for herself.

  2. Interesting you suggest your child is thinking for herself but apparently has come to the exact same conclusion as her parents.

  3. I myself have attended a passing out parade twice and found them both to be entertaining, congratulative celebrations of young people’s work and service to the Fire Service. A large part of the evening, as indicated in the article, are demonstrations that reflect the young person’s accumulated knowledge and work ethic, but a vital part of the ceremony is to respect the firemen who have worked with these children for four months, out in all kinds of weather, doing something that will benefit the children and only the children. The evening is about respect and the recognition of diligence, for both the children and firefighters alike – if your child wants to sign up to work with professional firefighters working with professional equipment, she will be expected to behave in a professional manner without the interference of personal prejudices. The fact she was intending to go and refuse a handshake shows she has only learnt one half of her 17 week course: how to put out a fire.

  4. and I myself served 26 years under solid senior officers who respected the men under their command and earn’t respect in return. Unfortunately it is not so today. Yes this girl did probably come to the same conclusion as her parents, but then she would as every serving member is currently under threat of dismissal if the dare utter the slightest whisper of opposition to this bullying regime.
    Fire fighters at Basildon and Grays wrote their MP’s as concerned citizens outlining their fears for public safety and those letters were passed on to HQ (illegally BTW). The final outcome is that they are now on final written warnings and they will be sacked if the ever utter another word in public.
    These are professional fire-fighters with whom I had the pleasure to work with before retiring 9 years ago.
    To quote from above
    “This was a local management decision and entirely based on the whole ethos of our successful Young Fire Fighters course, which underlines fire service values and behaviours.
    “These values are set out on the first day of the course, when students sign a behavioural contract promising to be respectful at all times, pledging that they will not discriminate, bully and will respect people’s differences without making them feel awkward and uncomfortable”
    When the management makes such lofty statements, one would expect the management to abide by them. Sadly it’s a case of do as I say, don’t do as I do.

  5. If I bad mouthed my employer or boss publicly I would probably be fired too. I appreciate that no lives are risked in my workplace, and I respect whistleblowing, but I’m not sure not being allowed to complain publicly is a big shocker.

  6. I’m sorry but I do not see why the rules should be changed for one 13 year old. You follow the rules like everyone else. If they allowed her to change who she shook hands with then they should allow all the others to choose special condiitons as well.

  7. It must be because this 13 year old girl, unlike all others, can think for herself. And when she’s thought for herself about a complex industrial dispute which it is entirely outside her experiences, and which I’m sure she’s got all the facts for, she has come to the exact same conclusion as her parents.

  8. And I’m pretty sure that when both parents go into work, whatever feelings they hold towards their superiors, they will undoubtedly shake their hands. The fact is, this young lady has had no wrongdoing actually perpetrated on her, therefore there is an obvious influence from her parents. Otherwise the argument simply doesn’t stack up.

  9. The fact is that her parents are losing money,will this affect her?The fact that she has feelings at this age ,perhaps to show support ,in her way to her dad.Does anyone realise that from an early age parents are role models,also teachers,grand parents and peers.So lets blame everyone or maybe listen to a 13 year old.I have learnt from my parents,but do not always agree with them as you must do.

  10. My child passed out on a yff course,as did her squad.Not all of them turned up for the full 17 weeks.Perhaps following ealier statements they only need turn up for the passout.

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