Husband and wife team, Sheila and Harry, recognised for delivering 2000 Safeside tours

"Completing a thousand tours each means they have shared more than 40,000 safety messages with children who have come to Safeside."

A husband and wife who have guided 1,000 tours each at West Midlands Fire Services’ Safeside centre in Birmingham have been recognised for their hard-work and dedication in delivering key safety messages for almost 15 years.

Prevention Advocate Volunteers Sheila and Harry Dennick have delivered life-saving information to as many as 20,000 primary school children since they began volunteering at Safeside in 2008. Before that, Harry had enjoyed a successful career in the brigade as a security officer.

And now their amazing efforts have been officially recognised, with a special blue plaque on ‘Safeside House’ in the village.

Guests at a VIP presentation for the couple included the High Sheriff of the County of West Midlands, David Moorcroft, and his wife Linda, Assistant Chief Fire Officer Simon Barry, several of Sheila and Harry’s current and former colleagues, and 60 visiting pupils from St Luke’s Primary School in Wolverhampton.

Speaking after the presentation, the couple spoke fondly of their time not just educating many thousands of children but also training new volunteers.

And they recalled recently meeting a young woman who had visited Safeside as a girl and still retained a lot of the safety advice delivered by Harry.

Harry and Sheila stood beside the plaque recognising their achievement of 1000 tours volunteering at Safeside.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Simon Barry paid tribute to Sheila and Harry’s dedication and highlighted the importance of their work in making the West Midlands safer, stronger, and healthier.

“Completing a thousand tours each means they have shared more than 40,000 safety messages with children who have come to Safeside. This place would not run without them or our other amazing volunteers - it’s as simple as that.”

Safeside at Eastside is a scenario-based experiential learning centre, designed to encourage visitors to think and act safely.

The flagship indoor ‘village’ includes a realistic, life-sized street scene, complete with a pedestrian crossing, car and double-decker bus, a house, a shop, police station and a building society. Visitors also encounter a full-sized train carriage and rail track, and water-based scenarios.

Safeside’s programmes play a key role in the prevention and education services provided by West Midlands Fire Service, all designed to make the West Midlands safer. Most visitors are primary school Key Stage 2 pupils, but secondary students and others with special educational needs, plus young adults and parents of younger children are also among the target groups.

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