FIREFIGHTERS from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
(GMFRS) shared a proud moment with scores of young people and
their families at a passing out parade in Rochdale.
Hundreds of people attended the ceremony at Hopwood Hall College
to mark the students' completion of the Uniformed Public
Services BTEC course.
Amongst the guests were former students who have gone on to have
successful careers in the services, teachers and VIPs including the
Mayor of Rochdale Councillor James Gartside, senior officers from
all the public services and the Lord Lieutenant of
Greater Manchester Warren Smith who received a guard of
During the ceremony, the students, aged 16 to 18, marched onto
the parade square at the college's Middleton campus where they were
inspected by the visiting officers.
This was followed by various displays in front of the crowd,
including fitness classes, assault courses and a horn pipe
For the second year there was a display by the students and
operational crews involving fire engines from Heywood and
Manchester Central fire stations.
The students wore fire gear and performed hose drills, with
Watch Manager Gary Wilkinson, from Red Watch Manchester Central,
narrating for the crowd.
Watch Manager Wilkinson is a part-time lecturer on the Uniformed
Public Services course at the college along with Firefighter
Steve Marsden from Blue Watch Heywood.
The drill concluded with the students reporting "drill
completed, sir" to Rochdale Borough Manager Tony Lander.
After the event, there was a prize-giving ceremony and a huge
tug of war contest between the students and the guests, followed by
an informal session where students and parents mingled with each
Firefighter Marsden, who has been lecturing at the college for
the past few years, said: "A great day was had by all and even the
rain couldn't dampen people's enthusiasm.
"The links between the fire service and Hopwood Hall College are
very strong and this continues to grow year on year."
Rochdale Borough Manager Tony Lander said: "The course gives
students from all walks of life a real insight into the various
unformed services, learning about various aspects such as
citizenship, fitness and discipline, with the chance to gain a BTEC
qualification at the end.
"I really feel that it's a superb course and a really proud
moment for the young people and their families when they finish and
demonstrate their skills to senior officers and local dignitaries
at the passing out parade."