The Nottingham Panthers play in Britain's top league and one of their community programmes involves dozens of school visits each season with the local fire and rescue service.

The scheme has worked well for over a season but to take it to the next level the club has dreamed up its own fire character, written a unique children's story about the character and had a graphic designer bring him to life.

Community liaison officer Nicola Strachan said today: "We work very closely with the Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service. Players and firefighters have been going into schools, answering questions from the children and letting them see the equipment the players and the firefighters use. We even take a fire engine in and park it on the playground.

"The main aim was to get youngsters to realise the hazards of fire and to try to get them to understand how dangerous it would be to set fire to things, to leave candles alone and so on.

"Once you've done question and answer sessions if you go back you need to do something different. We were going to help on the reading front by buying some books off the shelves at the local bookstore and get the guys to read them but our general manager said we could do better than that.

"He sat down and wrote a kids' story about firefighters based around a character he created called Fire Fighter Ice, who is so cool when the heat is on and who also loves to watch ice hockey.

"Our manager got a friend to bring him to life by coming up with a cartoon character and now we've got another sponsor,, to pay for a print run so we can leave a glossy printed version of the story with the youngsters to read over and over again.

"The schools have checked it out from an educational viewpoint and they're delighted and the fire service has looked it over from their viewpoint and they're delighted too. We've never heard of any team going this far before to make a community project of this nature work and we're proud to break new ground. The Nottingham Panthers are well known for their charity support and community work and this is just another example of us going that extra mile to make sure we deliver."

Nic Williams, Director of Business and Community with the Blue Bell Primary School and Trust added: "What a great way to promote fire safety and reading in one go.

"Blue Bell Hill Trust are proud to be able to support the Panthers with this programme and look forward to welcoming Fire Fighter Ice into all our partner schools." 


Posted October 7th, 2011 at 1420 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: