Please excuse Hamish: he was fighting a fire

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Gore High School is allowing pupil Hamish Goatley time off school for emergency fire callouts.

The Gore Youth Council chairman has volunteered for the Mataura Volunteer Fire Brigade for about 12 months and recently, in the school holidays, became a fully qualified firefighter.

Hamish (16) said he started volunteering because his father had volunteered for quite a number of years, and he also thought it would be a great way to repay the community and would be good to be a part of.

“It’s awesome getting out there and working with all the team and different brigades as well,” he said.

Hamish said it had taken him about 10 or 11 months to get fully qualified, and a range of training was involved.

“There’s hose skills, breathing apparatus work, we get trained in first aid and all that kind of stuff.”

“I went away on a seven-day recruit course and we were assessed up there, so we had half of it in Gore and then half of it in Christchurch.” Hamish said it was good to be fully qualified, and since achieving the required level he had assisted on a range of emergency callouts.

“It’s good. You can go out there and know you made a difference in the community and helped people out in their time of need.” Gore High School has allowed Hamish time off school should he need to attend an emergency situation.

“For a lot of employers nowadays it’s costing them money having people going out of work during the day, so it’s awesome that the school has seen it’s something I can go and do, and help out during the day as well, and do my part.”

“That’s actually really awesome that the school has been able to back it.

“I would really like to thank the Mataura brigade for all the support they give me and for helping me get to this stage and the school for allowing me to come out during school time,” he said.

Gore High School principal John McKinley said Hamish wrote the school a letter letting them know he had completed the full requirements to be a fully qualified volunteer fire fighter with the Mataura brigade.

“I think it’s reasonably unusual for a student to get fully qualified.

“Hamish is very civic minded and is also part of the youth council and so we wanted to support him.”

Mr McKinley said the senior leadership team decided it would be okay for Hamish to have time off school for callouts as long as his mother agreed and he didn’t take time off during exam time.