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Hat's a really great idea by Bantry Fire Brigade as helmets get flower power

September 15th, 2018 8:55 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Bantry Fire Service station officer Ian Vickery with one of the old fire helmets he turned into a hanging basket to brighten up the station. His son Ryan initially thought of the idea when he saw the helmets were surplus to requirements. (Photo: Andy Gibson)

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THERE has been a hugely positive reaction to Bantry Fire Brigade’s decision to make hanging baskets out of their old helmets.

‘Everyone in town is commenting on them,’ the station officer, Ian Vickery told The Southern Star, and photographs he posted on Twitter have already amassed more than 160 likes, with the number increasing all the time.

Cork County Fire Service posted the same photograph on its Facebook page and within hours it had been shared 33 times and attracted almost 400 likes.

Ian – who admits he is the least likely ‘flower power’ person you’d ever meet – has credited his son, Ryan, with coming up with the idea.

‘He is big into upscaling and repurposing and can find a use for most things, so when I was going to throw them out because they were no longer functional he suggested turning them into hanging baskets for the front of the fire station.’

As it happened, the flowers in the old hanging baskets had died from neglect so Ian brought the helmets – with the visors up to create a compartment and a small hole in the base for drainage – to a local garden centre and asked for them to be filled with autumnal flowers.

Ian, who has been a member of Bantry Fire Brigade for the last 18 years, and the station officer for the last seven, said the impact has been immediate.  ‘I was surprised by how many people have commented on it,’ said Ian, who reported that the most commonly used adjective is ‘cute.’ 

Even firemen visiting from other stations like the idea and lots of them have said they will do something similar back in their own bases, so it could catch on.

Ian said the use of the baskets is just one example of the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ philosophy in action, and agreed that it does send out a positive message. 

He pointed out that Bantry Fire Brigade has previously donated some of the money it raised from its annual car wash – which this year had to be cancelled due to the hosepipe ban – to Bantry’s Tidy Towns committee.

‘We’ve always supported the tidy towns committee because they do such amazing work around the town, but by putting up two hanging baskets outside we feel like we have made a good contribution to what is a community-wide initiative.’

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