Nicky’s blog Salamander day 5

Day Five

Sorry this is so late tonight. My sister-in-law came all the way from Guilford to watch the Show so I’ve been spending time with her this evening.

You all know that I only ever speak for myself in these blogs – the Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group and the Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service have no knowledge of the content of my blogs beforehand and the views are entirely personal but an extremely honest point of view – as you have come to expect from me so be warned!!

I don’t know whether you will even read this today after having been there to see them all in action. Weren’t they all just fab?!!

I had an extremely easy time at the Show this year. Just got to ride the fire engine and then the very important job of I.C.O.N – not quite what you think – In Case Of Need. They really didn’t need me though as they knew what they were doing and were so ably supported.

This morning was a typical morning starting with Breakfast and the pole drop then off to get changed before Show practice. They did just two run throughs and then had a drink and a few biscuits before a walk-through of the RTC part of the Show. They can’t actually practice this bit as it would involve actually cutting the cars and we want to save that for you to watch. So, didn’t they do even better than you thought?

After that it was a dinner of burger in a bun or a chicken fillet in a bun with salad and coleslaw and then David had put together a CD of Pixar and funny clips for them to watch during their break. A lot of laughter but mine was mainly reserved for watching Firefighter Fraser laugh at the funny clips – so, so funny and so lovely to see someone who loves to laugh that much!!

That was the time gone and you know the rest. I just want to say thank you for my lovely gifts. I don’t need gifts as the week is gift enough for me. It’s been so much fun and such an honour to work with your children and also with such a great bunch of people. So do I know tell you all about them as I have in other years? Didn’t know whether I was up to it this year and maybe I’m not but shall I try anyway and see how I do? Okay, here goes.


You couldn’t ask for someone better suited to the role of carer on this course. She is fab and cares not only for the young people but all of us. She is so kind, nothing is ever too much trouble but she’s not a push over either so you can be sure that your children are safe with her. I privilege to know Jo, to work with her and to call her my best friend.

Ben – Senior Crew – You were wonderful, a complete natural. The second you walked in on Monday we knew you had taken the role seriously. You didn’t stand back from any task and were completely at ease with the young people on the course, treating them like brothers and sisters and expecting the best from them and all with a cheeky sense of humour. A pleasure to have met you.

Katie – Senior Crew – Well done, you! Not an easy job coming into a group of young people that all know each other so well and having to find your way but you did and we are so proud of you. You care and wanted them to have fun and we are so grateful to you.

David – Senior Crew – Thank you. You did a grand job. You came in Tuesday and looked shell shocked at first but soon found your feet and the CD of clips was inspired, thoughtful and just absolutely perfect.

Cory – Senior Crew – what can I say other than a course wouldn’t be the same without you. You have the perfect blend of care, compassion, firmness and confidence. We all think you are fab!

PCSO’s – Tom, Cassey and Alex – you have been amazing this week. The first time any of you have worked with our young people and you threw yourselves wholeheartedly into the job at hand, treating them all with dignity, respect and a need to bring out the best in them. You have been ever encouraging and motivating and showed immense kindness and patience. Thank you!

SW Ambulance Service – Phil and Abi – you two have been amazing. You have taken Luke and Zachary under your wing this week, without excluding anyone else, and made it your mission to help them through in whatever way you can, and for that I will be forever grateful. Your generosity of time and spirit shines through in all that you do and say. Thank you x

Firefighters – please forgive me for lumping some of you together. It is not something I would usually do but these are unusual times and I don’t want to miss any of you as you have all made an impact on me and the young people this week and I want you to know that so – James, Emma, Rich, Gareth, Paul, Matt, Greg and David – you have come along for a day or two each and have amazed me by the way that you can just turn up, accept everyone for who they are, where they are at and just be able o pick up and get on with the job in hand. The young people listen to you, respond to you and trust you and I think that says it all. They are the best judges of character ever so you must be alright. Cheers!

The rest get singled out as they were able to spend the majority of the week with us so made a more lasting impression:

Lee – an ability to make us all laugh (even when we shouldn’t), a confident approach and a desire to make sure we all improve.

Nev – must be the kindness, gentlest firefighter they have with the patience of a saint. So lovely to see you fit again and so glad you could be here.

Sean – you care so, so much. You want to know exactly how to help and do your best to make sure you are everything they need you to be. So dedicated.

Steve – wouldn’t be the same without you. You don’t make a big song and dance about being there. You just are. You are a reassuring presence who oozes confidence which in turn enables our young people to achieve great things.

Fraser – the big Scotsman with the tenderest heartand the biggest belly laugh.I can’t help but smile when I see you. You made Zac’s week when you gave him the DVD which just proves my first point about you.

Mark – Don’t know what to say that I haven’t already said to you. You know I really needed this week and so did my boys. You let us all come, not knowing if we would be a liability or not and, even if we were, you still wouldn’t have said so. You are in the perfect job for your abilities and attributes and the Service are very lucky to have you. This course is as good as it is because of you and the team you have created and led.

You have all treated me like family – a good and special one!! – and I have never felt so comfortable with a group of people. You have been there when needed whether it be a shoulder, to be left alone (with a watchful eye) or a telling off. Thank you xx

I keep dropping off, sat here at my computer, I am so tired but I wouldn’t have missed this week for the world. They are an amazing group of young people who have found their way into an amazing opportunity with the most skilled and caring people ever who freely give their time in order that our young people have the greatest opportunity to make changes in their lives. You have done an amazing job and I hope you are proud to have been a part of this week because I am xxx