Campaign to save Sunderland fire station in line for national award

A march and rally took place to protest against the closure of Sunderland Central Fire Station. The march began at the station with the rally and speaches in the Market Square beside the Bridges Shopping Centre.
A march and rally took place to protest against the closure of Sunderland Central Fire Station. The march began at the station with the rally and speaches in the Market Square beside the Bridges Shopping Centre.
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THE campaign to save Sunderland Central Fire Station, spearheaded by the Echo, is in line for a national award this week.

The Hold Fire appeal has been selected to appear in the Making a Difference showcase, as part of Local Newspaper Week, which starts today.

Not only the members of the FBU but people across the whole of Sunderland are immensely proud of what the Echo did in terms of help and support to secure the saving of the fire station.

FBU secretary Russ King

Hundreds of daily and weekly newspapers participate each year, and this year’s Making a Difference theme aims to showcase the role of local media in improving the lives of people in local communities.

The Echo joined forces with Wearside MPs, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and, most importantly, our readers, to fight Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority’s decision to close the city’s central fire station as part of a plan to save millions of pounds last year.

The Echo collected 14,000 signatures in writing and online through our Hold Fire campaign, while more than 20,000 people added their names to a collection organised by Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott and the FBU.

Fire authority chiefs met in February and agreed to reverse the decision.

FBU secretary Russ King said backing from the Echo had been crucial to the success of the campaign.

“The support from the Sunderland Echo was absolutely fantastic,” he said.

“Not only the members of the FBU but people across the whole of Sunderland are immensely proud of what the Echo did in terms of help and support to secure the saving of the fire station.”

Sunderland Echo managing editor Gavin Foster said the success of the Hold Fire campaign was a testament to the unique role local newspapers play in serving their communities.

“I am delighted that the hard work and commitment of all those involved in the campaign, from fire service personnel to MPs and councillors, to the Echo’s staff and readers, has been recognised with this nomination in the Making a Difference showcase as part of Local Newspaper Week,” he said.

• To vote, visit the website – www.localnewspaperweek.co.uk – where you will be able to view details of all the campaigns in the running.