Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Firefighters pitch in to help local cop

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Dean Woodgate and the Rotorua Fire Service's Brown Watch are auctioning off the opportunity to become a firefighter for a day.  Photo/Stephen Parker
Dean Woodgate and the Rotorua Fire Service's Brown Watch are auctioning off the opportunity to become a firefighter for a day. Photo/Stephen Parker

The Rotorua Fire Brigade is offering the rare opportunity to become a firefighter for a day to help raise funds for a sick emergency services colleague.

The brigade's Brown Watch crew have been cleared to auction off the chance for a member of the public to join them for a day to raise funds for Rotorua policeman Steve Allpress and his family.

Mr Allpress is undergoing treatment for terminal brain cancer. His police colleagues have set up the Rotorua Police Welfare Fund and are holding a charity night and auction on Friday, October 21.

The fund would be used to help sworn and non-sworn staff and their family members who suffered trauma, illness or injury.

All Black great Michael Jones is the guest speaker and Police Ten 7's Rob Lemoto is the MC.

Mr Allpress and his long-term partner Kylie Parker, with whom he has four children, were recently married and she has taken unpaid leave from her job as an ambulance officer for St John to care for him.

Rotorua Fire Brigade station officer Tony Kelly said they had set up the auction on Trade Me with a starting price of $500. Already the site has been visited almost 3000 times.

Mr Kelly said the bond between emergency staff was strong and they wanted to help in any way they could.

"I would like to see a Rotorua business bid on it and give it away as a gift to one of their staff.

"So that's our challenge to them, especially big businesses, to get in there and support a great cause.

"This is a pretty rare opportunity and we had to get permission from our big bosses to go ahead and do it, but they were really supportive.

"It's very rare for anyone to get a ride in the fire trucks and this is the first time we have done it here in Rotorua."

He said not only would the winner of the auction get their own uniform and ride along as the ninth member of Brown Watch, they would also go to any call outs, take part in training, routine day-to-day operations and get the chance to visit the National Training Centre and put out their own fire.

"As any of his friends and colleagues would testify, Steve is genuinely a good bugger.

"He has a great sense of humour and is well liked and respected within the police in Rotorua and across the Bay of Plenty," Mr Kelly said.

"Hopefully with this and the charity event we can raise some funds to assist Steve and his family going forward."

Become a firefighter for a day
- Trade Me auction to raise funds for terminally ill policeman Steve Allpress
- Join the Rotorua Fire Service's Brown Watch on the job
- Starting price $500
- Closes on Friday, October 7
- Listed under: Become a Firefighter for a Day. Listing # 1170448262

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