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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Film night to help campaign to retain fire engine in Cumbrian town

A gala night at Penrith’s Alhambra cinema has been organised to support a campaign to save the town’s second fire engine.

Rory Stewart photo
Rory Stewart

Action thriller Backdraft will be shown at the Middlegate picture house as part of the event next Thursday.

The campaign has been launched in response to county council proposals to take an appliance away from the town.

More than 600 signatures from all over the world have been added to an online petition set up in response to Cumbria County Council’s proposals to take an appliance away from the town.

The Save Penrith’s Fire Engine campaign claims cuts to the Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service budget will lead to longer response times and put lives in danger.

Campaigners also believe homes and businesses in Penrith will be put at greater risk due to potential longer response times and less appliances.

But senior firefighters insist they would do nothing to increase the risks people face.

More than 3,700 people are following the campaign on its Facebook page.

Retained firefighter Dawn Coates is involved and said the campaign was supported by cinema owner, Alan Towers.

“He, along with many other local businesses, is alarmed and incredulous that Penrith could lose its second pump,” she said.

“We want to raise awareness of the campaign and bring those supporting the campaign together.”

Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart has warned against removing the fire engine unless all other alternatives have been thoroughly investigated.

Mr Stewart has held talks with fire station staff and the county’s top fire officer Ian Cartwright. He said: “The key thing is that staff here have put together thoughtful, sensible counter-proposals to try and make savings while retaining the appliance.”

Cumbria County Council says it must save £80 million over the next three years on top of the £88m made in the past three. Bosses hope to save £24m in the first year and up to 600 jobs across the authority are at risk.

Fire engines could also be cut in Workington, Whitehaven, Maryport and Kendal and crew arrangements would be reviewed in a bid to save £540,000.

Next Thursday’s event involves canapes and cocktails at 7pm at the Four and Twenty restaurant, King Street, before the film screening starts at 8.30pm.

Tickets are available from the cinema or Townhall Treasures, Middlegate, and all money raised will be donated to The Fire Fighters Charity, which has a rehabilitation centre at Eamont Bridge, Penrith.

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