Meet the boy who wants to be a firefighter so much he has turned his bedroom into a station.
Andrew Impey, 10, who suffers from autism, is obsessed with the work firefighters do and has visited more than 500 stations in little more than a year.
His epic journey has spanned thousands of miles starting with those covered by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service before picking off counties on the way up to Scotland.
Crews have welcomed the Cosham schoolboy who has documented his travels on Twitter and Facebook and been given more than 800 trinkets and bits of kit from firefighters.
He has stored and displayed equipment in his bedroom and even put a fire map on the wall to recreate the look of a station. Other items bought from fire shows are also featured. Crews from Canada and the US learned about his quest on social media and sent him firefighter-related gifts.
He said: “I have been welcomed by firefighters everywhere I’ve been but my favourite place is Hampshire.
“The bit I like most is the fire engines and getting to sit in them.
“I think they do an amazing job, not everyone knows all the things they do besides fighting fires.
“I hope to visit all the fire stations in the country by the time I am 18, going to the last one the day before I start work in the fire service.”
There are about 2,000 stations in the country but Andrew plans to add airport fire facilities and Ireland to his lengthy itinerary. Andrew – who is known by his first and middle names Andrew Dane on social media – has developed an encyclopaedic knowledge of the fire service and even reads the trade press to keep up to date.
His journey started when his parents took him to Havant station on Christmas Eve 2014. Mum Kirstine, who works in a care home, said: “Before this he would hardly talk, couldn’t read or write and was struggling at school.
“All that has changed. The fire service has given us a child we just didn’t have before.
“He has transformed his bedroom into a station.”
Dad Paul, a civil servant, said: “He has always been interested in firefighting and now, after taking him on these visits, so are we.
“The firefighters are such good role models and we can’t believe how Hampshire Fire and Rescue have welcomed us into their blue light family.”
He went on to say Andrew is the unofficial world record holder for visiting the most fire stations. However, officials from the Guinness Book of World Records ruled it would not be a valid category as the buildings are not completely accessible to the public.
His mammoth challenge is to raise cash for the Fire Fighters Charity and he is also doing a sponsored cycle ride between Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service stations.
He has currently raised more than £600 of his £1,000 target on his JustGiving page and gets the support of firefighters and the public on social media at #oneladschallenge.
Andy Bowers, Assistant Chief Fire Officer of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The journey Andrew has undertaken is incredible.”