Daughter of Magherafelt firefighter shares heart-warming view of life around dad’s job

Barry with a commendation for his work on a crash in Draperstown
Barry with a commendation for his work on a crash in Draperstown

The 11-year-old daughter of a Magherafelt firefighter has written a heart-warming report on the points, both good and bad, of life around his “pretty cool” job.

Jessica Stewart, a P7 pupil at Magherafelt PS, had her article first published on the website Myschool on May 9.

Magherafelt firefighter Barry Stewart with his children Reece and Jessica

Magherafelt firefighter Barry Stewart with his children Reece and Jessica

The level-headed youngster spoke candidly about how her family’s plans can suddenly change when her dad gets a “shout”, and how sometimes, when he comes home “quiet” she knows he has seen something upsetting.

“When I was younger I wouldn’t have understood why my dad would come home from a shout smelling of smoke,” Jessica wrote. “Or if he was very quiet. Then I see later on in the news that someone has died in a car crash and I know that’s the reason... he’d actually been there.”

And even though she misses her dad when’s he’s away, in a spectacularly selfless fashion, she said she doesn’t mind as she knows someone else needs him more than her.

“I love being a firefighter’s daughter,” she said. “It’s hard sometimes when dad’s away, but I know that someone at that time needs him more than me.”

Magherafelt firefighter Barry Stewart has a 'pretty cool job' according to his 11-year-old daughter Jessica

Magherafelt firefighter Barry Stewart has a 'pretty cool job' according to his 11-year-old daughter Jessica

But, family sacrifices aside, his “pretty cool” job is also a great source of pride for Jessica and her brother Reece.

“Growing up as a firefighter’s daughter is pretty cool and something I’m very proud of,” she said. And despite not being fussed on the “scary goldfish bowl” that is his breathing apparatus, Jessica said she enjoys trips to the station where she gets to “squirt water and switch on the lights in the fire engines”.

“My dad’s station is definitely home from home,” she added, “All the firefighters are great fun.”

“Taken aback” by his daughter’s report, Barry said: “You don’t often get to see the strength behind the boots.”