Thousands flock to Port Solent’s 999 Day to get up close to emergency vehicles and marvel at classic cars

The free event in the Port Solent car park on Saturday, attended by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, councillor Tom Coles, saw children climb aboard fire engines, police cars and ambulances - new and old - as they got an insight into what it was like to be in the emergency services. Enthusiasts had the chance to meet those who work for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, Raynet (Emergency Communications Service), Hampshire police, the RNLI, South Coast Ambulance Service and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance. Although the popular hose demonstration could not take place due to the drought, there was plenty to entertain people with a fire investigation dog demonstration, emergency first aid and sampling the array of classic cars and sports vehicles.

Paul McKay, organiser, said: 'The event is getting bigger every year, with this one our biggest since starting in 2016. Everyone loves a free event. 'It's important to raise awareness of the emergency services and a chance for kids to look around the vehicles and see what's in them.

Kids love anything with a blue light. 'It's been a very good event and one that puts Port Solent on the map.' Jason White, who organises the car meet at Port Solent, added: 'Kids to love to get in police cars, ambulances and fire engines.

It's a good chance for them to get to talk to emergency services.' Meanwhile, car lovers were treated to a variety of super cars including a Ferrari and Ford Mustang, as well as vintage vehicles. Southampton car lover Artur Novikovas, 33, was with his two-year-old son Austin displaying a 1969 Morris Minor used by the Met Police and which recently led the parade in London for the closing ceremony of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. 'It was very cool and a real honour to be part of the parade especially as my son was the youngest participant,' Artur said.

'We love to go to car shows and have really enjoyed the 999 Day, which has been lovely. My son loves to see fire trucks and police cars. He's a real petrol head already.'

Families were also enjoying the occasion. Charlie Mills, 31, from Havant, said: 'We've never been before but it is really good. My son is obsessed with emergency vehicles.

I did not expect to see so many.' Sharon Allen, 66, of Leigh Park, was with her husband, son and grandsons Ovi and Dempsey, aged two and five respectively. 'It's lovely...and perfect for the children. It's educational for them and interesting,' she said.

Visitors also cheered on Hampshire firefighters Stu Vince and Craig Sadler, Cosham watch manager, who are due to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic in December to raise awareness of mental health. The pair are supporting Solent Mind and The Firefighters Charity by taking on the world's toughest row: The Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge. They were rowing alongside their boat throughout the 999 Day event.

Stu, of Redbridge Hill Fire Station, said: 'We want to reduce stigma around mental health and encourage people to talk. We have been training for the race for three years, doing something every day. We're looking forward to the challenge.'

Sita Duncan and her daughter, Bonnie, 2./pp999 Day at Port Solent Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 030922-11)

1. Mum and daughter

Sita Duncan and her daughter, Bonnie, 2.

999 Day at Port Solent Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 030922-11) Photo: Chris Moorhouse

Firefighters Stu Vince and Craig Sadler, right, will be rowing the Atlantic during December in the Talisker Whisky Atalntic Challenge, raising money for firefighters charities and Solent Mind./pp999 Day at Port Solent Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 030922-10)

2. Firefighters to row Atlantic

Firefighters Stu Vince and Craig Sadler, right, will be rowing the Atlantic during December in the Talisker Whisky Atalntic Challenge, raising money for firefighters charities and Solent Mind.

999 Day at Port Solent Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 030922-10) Photo: Chris Moorhouse

A firefighter shows Caleb Bush, 9, the cab of a fire engine./pp999 Day at Port Solent Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 030922-09)

3. Inside a fire engine

A firefighter shows Caleb Bush, 9, the cab of a fire engine.

999 Day at Port Solent Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 030922-09) Photo: Chris Moorhouse

Firefighter Phil 'Larry' Lamb helps Louie Wiggins, 2, try on a firefighter's helmet./pp999 Day at Port Solent Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 030922-08)

4.

Trying on a firefighter's helmet.

Firefighter Phil 'Larry' Lamb helps Louie Wiggins, 2, try on a firefighter's helmet.

999 Day at Port Solent Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 030922-08)

Photo: Chris Moorhouse