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Video: 5 festive firefighters join Living Advent
Published 12/12/12

FIVE firefighters performed their own version of The 12 Days Of Christmas for the Henley Living Advent Calendar.

Watch our video of the event by clicking here

The retained members of the fire and rescue service, including one woman, were seen by a crowd of more than 50 people at Henley fire station in West Street on Monday evening.

The performance was the 10th of this year’s calendar.

Jason Evans sang while his colleagues acted out the lyrics, which they had written themselves to reflect the duties of a firefighter at Christmas.

They included advice on fitting fire alarms and a warning against drink-driving.

At one point, a rope was thrown towards the audience to coincide with the lyric “10 water rescues”.

A fire engine was parked behind the crew with its blue lights flashing and there were also sound effects. After the performance, the station was opened for children to look at the fire engine and learn about the firefighters’ equipment.

Mr Evans, who could not contain his laughter as he sang, said: “I really enjoyed it but I was more nervous performing in front of a crowd than any job I’ve been on.

“It was fun to have my friends behind me, knowing they were having a laugh as well.

“It was something a bit different that helped spread a good message.”

Watch manager Terry Cooper, who helped organise the performance, said: “We did it to embed ourselves into the community so we’re not just looked at as something that gets you out of trouble.

“We got a few laughs so hopefully the message got out but people also saw the comedic side too.”

Each night of December until Christmas Eve, a different venue in Henley is hosting a 15-minute performance of music, dance, poetry or comedy but the act isn’t revealed until the last moment.

Businesses have offered their premises free and provide festive refreshments.

Collections are taken each night to raise money for the Chiltern Centre for disabled children, Camp Mohawk and the Sue Ryder hospice at Nettlebed. Red Christmas beanie hats and raffle tickets are also being sold.

Almost £2,000 has been raised so far, more than was raised across the whole 24 dates last year.

Organiser Julie Perigo, who launched the event last year, said she was “thrilled” with how the calendar was going.

“We had a lovely turnout at the fire station and people were saying, ‘This is great, I have never been in the station despite living in Henley all my life’,” she said.

“We have been getting an average audience of 100 people each evening, which is almost twice the size of last year.

“I think it is because people love going to places that they do not necessarily see all the time.

“The calendar has been a good mix so far and we hope that continues. Even if it is a bit cold people know there is going to be mulled wine and mince pies there to warm them up and so it is worth all the effort.”

On Wednesday last week, Gillotts School pupil Elliott Barrow, 12, sang to a large crowd at the Chiltern Business Centre in Station Road.

Mrs Perigo said: “He got the audience swaying and foot-tapping to Superstition and some really upbeat numbers — what a star.”

More than 100 people packed into Deep Clothing in Reading Road on the following evening as members of the Henley Choral Society suddenly appeared in the style of a flashmob.

The A Cappella group sang carols and the audience joined in.

On Friday, Shiplake Community Choir performed on the steps of Leander Club in front of a crowd of almost 200 people.

The 40-strong choir sang five carols and again the audience were encouraged to join in with the help of song sheets and cups of hot Pimm’s.

Brakspear’s Christmas beer Oh Be Joyful was renamed Row Be Joyful for the evening in honour of the club.

There was a full house at Henley Youth Centre on Saturday to witness Naomi and Friends while on Sunday Steph’s Dancing Divas and Dudes performed outside the Green Olive restaurant in Market Place.

Mrs Perigo said it was heartwarming watching the young children and singing and dancing to Christmas music.

Published 12/12/12

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