Welephant, our big red elephant mascot, is celebrating the third birthday of his club in Staffordshire this week.
"Locally, Wele is a hugely popular character at the annual Staffordshire County Show and dozens of other open days, fetes and fundraising activities all year round. He is often booked up months in advance."
Welephant Club Co-ordinator Nicky Westwood.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service set up the club for younger members of the community three years ago and since then membership has grown to more than 2,050 four to eight-year-olds across the county.
On joining the Welephant Club, children receive a free welcome pack, four newsletters a year and Wele never forgets to send Christmas and birthday cards.
Welephant Club Co-ordinator Nicky Westwood, said: “Welephant was the national mascot of Fire and Rescue Services and was later adopted by the Children’s Burns Trust.
“Locally, Wele is a hugely popular character at the annual Staffordshire County Show and dozens of other open days, fetes and fundraising activities all year round. He is often booked up months in advance and he also made a special guest appearance in our Service’s Push the Button video dancing to the Sugar Babes.
“Three years ago he launched his own club for children with the aim of raising awareness of fire safety amongst our younger residents in a fun way. Children who are club members receive a certificate, Wele gift, and newsletters packed with information on what Welephant is up to, games, competitions and quizzes. Wele also has his own section on our website with safety quizzes and videos and pictures for colouring in.
Children can join the club for free via Welephant’s page on the website www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk or by signing up at any public event where Wele appears.
Welephant was born in Manchester in 1979 as the mascot for Greater Manchester Fire Service and proved so popular he became a national charity in 1997. Many Fire and Rescue Services have now “retired” him but he continues to have a home in Staffordshire where he is a popular attraction at local events supported by the Fire Service.