Merseyside | Pink fire engine launch for cancer

Merseyside | 8 June 2012

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service has unveiled the UK’s first ever working pink fire engine in support of the Year of Action on Cancer in Merseyside and Cheshire.

Dubbed as “Lilly The Pink”, the appliance was unveiled by Liverpool model and cancer charity supporter Amanda Harrington at Kensington Fire Station today.

Lilly, which will be adorned in a variety of cancer awareness messages and important information about early diagnosis, will be on the streets of Merseyside standing out among the Service’s red fleet.

It was the idea of MF&RS Group Manager Paul Hitchen, who lost his own father, Bill, to oral cancer 20 years ago.

Paul was inspired during a visit to North Carolina in the US last year, where a pink fire appliance was similarly being used to promote cancer awareness. He thought it would be a useful way to raise awareness of early signs and symptoms and encourage people in Merseyside to see their GP if they have any concerns.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service has partnered with the NHS on Merseyside on this project as part of the region’s Year of Action on Cancer.

Lilly will initially be based at Kensington Community Fire Station and will be an operational fire engine, which will also attend special events to promote awareness.

Paul said: “Everyone knows somebody who has been affected by cancer, whether it is family members friends, or work colleagues.

“The firefighters in North Carolina said it had been really successful over there and I am hoping it will be just as successful in Merseyside.

“The primary aim is the promotion of cancer awareness so that people take action early and get the help and assistance they need.”

Gideon Ben-Tovim, Chair of NHS Merseyside said: “Having something as visual as Lilly the Pink to support the Year of Action on Cancer is a great asset for the campaign. Not only will it turn heads, it will help raise awareness of some important messages that could save lives. The earlier someone seeks medical attention with cancer symptoms, the better their chances of becoming a survivor of cancer. We need everyone to know this and Lilly the Pink will play an important part in that.”

Liverpool Model and Cancer Research UK supporter Amanda Harrington said: “I know many people whose lives have been touched by cancer and that it affects 1 in 3 of us.

“I’ve also visited the scientists at Liverpool Cancer Research UK Centre to see the incredible research they are doing locally, so I’m delighted to support the Year of Action on Cancer in Merseyside and Cheshire. I’m sure Lilly will be a great way to help spread the message.”

Phil Garrigan, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Deputy Chief Fire Officer, said: “It is a fantastic idea and we believe Lilly The Pink will perform an important function in Merseyside. We continue in our aim to provide Safer, Stronger Communities and if the pink appliance can help the early detection of cancer in one person that will be a great achievement.”

Lilly’s first public appearance will be at the Cancer Research UK Race for Life event at Aintree Racecourse on Sunday, June 24.

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