Fire cadets rescue tadpoles from dried-out South Shields pond
Fire cadets have leaped into action to save tadpoles at risk of death in a dried-out South Shields pond.
They raced to the rescue by using hoses to re-fill the almost barren water feature at Temple Park, South Shields.
The Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s (TWFRS) Fire Cadets, aged from 13 to 17, were on site for around an hour.
In that time, they returned to base at South Shields fire station, based at Temple Park, up to five times to refill their cadet fire engines.
They were alerted to the tadpoles’ fate by the Temple Memorial Park Volunteer Rangers (TMPVR), an environmental group which helps look after the public grassland.
TWFRS bosses say they hope the youngsters’ life-saving work will inspire more recruits to learn about fire-fighting.
Fire Cadet instructor Paul Grieve said: “Our Fire Cadets are a fantastic group of young people who jumped at the chance to help out.
“We had two of the cadet fire engines in attendance and their water pumps needed refilling four or five times, so it was actually quite a challenging task.
“They practise their hose running regularly and really enjoyed putting those skills to good use.
“It was a great opportunity for them to support the community by preserving the local wildlife.”
Bonita Nesbitt, secretary of the TMPVR, added: “We were lucky that the cadets happened to be on duty, because we couldn’t really expect the normal fire crews to come out.
“It was quickly established that it was possible for the fire engines to get to the pond, which has a path nearby but is fairly inaccessible to vehicles.
“The pond always completely dries up in summer, but it’s been weird this year and it’s never filled up properly and the tadpoles hadn’t matured into frogs.
“We heard that some members of the public had tried to save the tadpoles by using buckets filled with water.
“There were still hundreds of tadpoles left, but the water has nearly almost all gone. The cadets came to the rescue - we are all really thankful to them.”
The cadets, a uniformed youth organisation, were supported by Mr Grieve, fellow instructor John Muncaster, and volunteer instructors Alex Selkirk and Geoff Smith.
Fire Cadets develop personal safety and fire safety knowledge, improve their communication and leadership skills, and develop self-esteem and self-confidence.
At weekly meetings they take part in activities like hose running and team building games.
They also represent the fire service at ceremonial occasions and display their skills at open days, summer fairs and other events
The TWFRS has seven Fire Cadet units, and more information is available by calling 0191 444 1500 or visiting www.twfire.gov.uk/about-us/community-engagement/fire-cadets