CAMPAIGNER Karen Sinclair is backing the Echo in Local Newspaper Week’s Making A Difference award.
The ‘Hold Fire’ campaign to save Sunderland Central Fire Station, spearheaded by the Echo, is in line for the national award this week.
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.
Karen, 57, lives in Chepstow Street, Millfield – just around the corner from the station – and was so incensed at the closure plans she wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron.
The Echo’s support had been critical in the campaign’s success, she said.
“The Echo covered the closure threat right from the start, through all the protests about it right through to the decision to keep the station open,” she said.
“The Echo helped us a lot – people could express themselves and explain their concerns through the Echo.
“If we had not had a local paper there it would have been very different – I don’t think the national papers would have been bothered with something like that.
“I am backing the Echo all the way to Win the Making a Difference award.”
We collected 14,000 signatures in writing and online, while more than 20,000 people added their names to a collection organised by Julie Elliott and the FBU.
Fire authority chiefs met in February and agreed to reverse the decision.
l To vote for the Hold Fire campaign in the Local Newspaper Week Making a Difference award, visit the website www.localnewspaperweek.co.uk where you can see details of all the fantastic campaigns that have been nominated this year.