A FAMILY from Widnes hailed Halton's firefighters for going 'above and beyond the call of duty' to ensure their vehicle was cleaned after they had tried to get it done as part of a charity car wash at Runcorn Fire Station.

Nick and Hayley Francis donated money to The Fire Fighters Charity as they waited with their children Sam, eight, Dylan, four, and George, one, to have the family’s car washed at the fundraising event on Saturday, September 28.

Unfortunately, before the firefighters could clean the car they were called to an incident and the family went home without leaving contact details.

Determined to provide the service the family had made a donation for, the firefighters tracked them down with help from their colleagues at Widnes Fire Station.

Firefighters then visited the family's home in Hampton Court Way, Widnes, and offered them a special visit to the town's fire station in Lacey Street.

Not only did the family's car get washed when they took up the offer on Thursday, October 17, they were given a tour of the station and the equipment used during fire and rescue incidents and Sam and Dylan were helped to use a hose reel jet whilst dressed as firefighters.

This was a particular treat for four-year-old Dylan, who desperately wants to be a firefighter when he grows up.

His mum Hayley said: "It was a dream come true for Dylan, who loves anything to do with fire engines and firefighters.

"He and Sam thoroughly enjoyed helping the firefighters use a hose reel jet to clean our car and we had a great time being shown around the fire engine and the equipment that the firefighters use.

"The firefighters made a real fuss of us all.

"Our car was spick and span after they had cleaned it and we can’t praise or thank the lovely firefighters at both Runcorn and Widnes enough for how they have been with us.

"They have gone above and beyond the call of duty for us.

"There really was no need for them to track us down after they had been called out to an incident before they were able to clean our car at the Runcorn car wash.

"We understand that they have to drop whatever they are doing when they are called to emergency incidents and it was great for the kids to be able to see them responding to a call-out when we were at Runcorn Fire Station. The boys loved it.

"It was such a shock when the firefighters turned up to our home in a fire engine inviting us to a special visit to our nearest fire station, in Widnes. We hadn’t even given the firefighters our address.

"We were more than happy to accept the invitation and are so glad that we did.

"Dylan wants to be a firefighter more than ever now.”

Car wash events are held at Runcorn and Widnes' fire stations every year to raise money for The Fire Fighters Charity, the UK’s leading provider of services that enhance the quality of life for serving and retired fire service personnel and their families.

Stuart Devereux, station manager for Widnes and Runcorn, said: "The Runcorn firefighters were disappointed they were unable to wash the Francis family’s car as a result of them being called to a fire at a house in Runcorn.

"They were determined to track the family down and make amends and everyone at Runcorn and Widnes fire stations is delighted to hear that the family enjoyed their special visit."