Cookstown schoolboy wins chance to be a firefighter for a day with his anti-smoking TV ad

Fintan Loughran with his father Mick Loughran and brother Danny Loughran enjoy a day as a Firefighter with Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service Watch Commander Michael Duffy, following his top prize award with the Cancer Focus NI Smokebusters campaign.
Fintan Loughran with his father Mick Loughran and brother Danny Loughran enjoy a day as a Firefighter with Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service Watch Commander Michael Duffy, following his top prize award with the Cancer Focus NI Smokebusters campaign.

A Cookstown schoolboy was “really really happy” to get chance to be a firefighter for the day after winning an anti-smoking competition.

Fintan Loughran, a pupil at St Joseph’s Primary School in Killenan, got to spend the day with Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service [NIFRS] after winning the top prize in this year’s Cancer Focus NI’s Smokebusters competition.

It was really fun. We got to go on the boat and go down the River Lagan and I got to go 120 feet up on the hydraulics that they use for really tall buildings - prize winner Fintan

The P7 pupil wrote and directed a script for a mini TV advert for the NI competition, which encourages young people to say ‘No’ to cigarettes.

Speaking about his day as a firefighter the youngster said: “It was really fun. We got to go on the boat and go down the River Lagan and I got to go 120 feet up on the hydraulics that they use for really tall buildings.”

But when our reporter asked if he wanted to be a firefighter when he grows up, the bright 11-year-old said: “I think it might be a bit dangerous.”

Instead he is hoping for a career as a rugby player.

As for the mini advert that won Fintan the chance of a lifetime, he modestly said: “It was just an interview really, we did it with one shot.”

He did say though that the idea was his and that he enlisted the help of a “girl in his class to act it all out”.

During his day with NIFRS Fintan got to work with hoses, ladders and try out the breathing apparatus. He also worked alongside NIFRS’s Specialist Rescue Team on the River Lagan, visited the organisation’s Regional Control Centre and was taken skywards in a Vema (aerial platform) vehicle.

The Smokebusters programme, now in its 26 year, urges P6 and P7s to say ‘No’ to smoking, giving them a healthy, happy future.

NIFRS Watch Commander Michael Duffy said he was delighted with Fintan’s entry.

“Fintan produced a fantastic piece of work that identifies all aspects regarding the dangers of smoking. It is a powerful advertisement,” he said.

“Fintan’s family, friends and St Joseph’s PS in Cookstown can be extremely proud of this talented director.

“The damage and destruction caused by a lit cigarette is all too often visible during the operational duties of a firefighter.”