Passing out parade
Date published: 17 July 2012
Scores of Hopwood Hall students shared a proud moment with their families and firefighters from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) at a passing out parade in Rochdale.
Hundreds of people attended the ceremony at Hopwood Hall College to mark the students’ completion of the Uniformed Public Services BTEC course.
Amongst the guests were former students who have gone on to have successful careers in the services, teachers and VIPs including the Mayor of Rochdale Councillor James Gartside, senior officers from all the public services and the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester Warren Smith who received a guard of honour.
During the ceremony, the students, aged 16 to 18, marched onto the parade square at the college’s Middleton campus where they were inspected by the visiting officers.
This was followed by various displays in front of the crowd, including fitness classes, assault courses and a horn pipe dance.
For the second year there was a display by the students and operational crews involving fire engines from Heywood and Manchester Central fire stations.
The students wore fire gear and performed hose drills, with Watch Manager Gary Wilkinson, from Red Watch Manchester Central, narrating for the crowd.
Watch Manager Wilkinson is a part-time lecturer on the Uniformed Public Services course at the college along with Firefighter Steve Marsden from Blue Watch Heywood.
The drill concluded with the students reporting “drill completed, sir” to Rochdale Borough Manager Tony Lander.
After the event, there was a prize-giving ceremony and a huge tug of war contest between the students and the guests, followed by an informal session where students and parents mingled with each other.
Firefighter Marsden, who has been lecturing at the college for the past few years, said: “A great day was had by all and even the rain couldn’t dampen people's enthusiasm.
“The links between the fire service and Hopwood Hall College are very strong and this continues to grow year on year.”
Rochdale Borough Manager Tony Lander said: “The course gives students from all walks of life a real insight into the various unformed services, learning about various aspects such as citizenship, fitness and discipline, with the chance to gain a BTEC qualification at the end.
“I really feel that it’s a superb course and a really proud moment for the young people and their families when they finish and demonstrate their skills to senior officers and local dignitaries at the passing out parade.”
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