CHILDREN from Darlington College were given a taste of life in the rescue services after being invited to visit the town's fire station.

A group of children from the college's Childcare Centre went on a VIP tour of the fire station in St Cuthbert's Way. They got the chance to operate a hose and sit in a fire engine.

Firefighter Matt Stirland said: "We welcome visits from anyone in the community. At this young age it is just great for them to get up close to the engines. When they are slightly older, we introduce safety messages such as not to play with matches. It all helps build good relationships with young people. Then when they are teenagers, hopefully we won't have any problems with them starting fires."

The Childcare Centre manager, Andi Cartwright, said: "The children really enjoyed themselves, particularly those who got to operate the fireman's hose.

"We do try and touch upon fire safety but there is no substitute for experiencing the real thing and I think they will remember their visit for years."