While it’s a long way off, six-year-old Isobel Kenyon is not only dreaming about being a firefighter one day, but also being in charge of Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS)!
The idea started after Isobel was playing in a park near KFRS’ newest fire station in Ramsgate and spotted firefighters training. After exchanging waves with the crew, curious Isobel asked her dad Rob Kenyon if she could be a firefighter when she grows up.
Rob explains that he and his wife Emma read stories to Isobel about extraordinary women of the last century and one of those was about the first female Asian firefighter in America.
“We are really keen to encourage Isobel to be confident, to know that she should always follow her dreams and that she can be anything she puts her mind to.
“it’s important that Isobel and other young children don’t grow up with the mindset that boys do certain jobs and girls do certain jobs. Every one of us has a place in community and society. We should all have an equal chance to be and do anything we want in life.”
After learning about Isobel’s aspirations, KFRS’ Chief Executive, Ann Millington wrote to Isobel inviting her to visit Ramsgate fire station to become an honorary firefighter for the afternoon.
Isobel met the on-duty crew along with two of the newer recruits’ firefighters: Lora Burkhill and Shaunagh Brown, who is also an England Women’s rugby player and Nikki Escudier, a KFRS watch manager responsible for training new recruits.
Nikki said: “I was exactly the same as Isobel. I knew from an early age that this was the job I wanted to do and love it every bit as much today as I did on my first day 16 years ago.”
During her visit, Isobel got the opportunity to dress as a firefighter, join the crew on a mock 999 call in the fire engine and put out pretend flames using a hose. Isobel was also presented with a framed certificate and a model fire engine.
Isobel said: “I want to be a firefighter and be in charge one day, so that I can help people and encourage more girls to become firefighters.”