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Britain’s first female firefighter working to ensure community is not left without ‘help and hope’

PUBLISHED: 07:30 18 April 2020

Jo Reynolds is among those leading the efforts to help the King's Lynn and west Norfolk community. Picture: Jo Reynolds

Jo Reynolds is among those leading the efforts to help the King's Lynn and west Norfolk community. Picture: Jo Reynolds

Archant

For Jo Reynolds, becoming one of her community’s heroes at a time of crisis was a seamless transition.

Jo ReynoldsJo Reynolds

Hailed a “trailblazer” for being Britain’s first female firefighter, she continues to lead the way by offering support to those struggling in King’s Lynn.

Ms Reynolds and Kerry Robinson set up Angels of King’s Lynn - a Facebook group - in response to talk of a lockdown and fear surrounding the coronavirus last month.

The 55-year-old said: “None of us knew what was about to happen but we feared that the most vulnerable in our community may need help.”

Joining forces with fellow ‘Activity Angels’ in west Norfolk, she has been coordinating help and advice to ensure people are aware and have access to available help.

Members of the group have put together a directory of local businesses and services across west Norfolk for key workers, vulnerable people and those self-isolating in the area.
MORE: Businesses and groups offering service to the community
Ms Reynolds said: “We all watch and ensure no-one is missed when they post and that each person reaching out is helped to a conclusion or series of conclusions.

“We want people to be safe, well and happy at home.

“One of our key pillars is a directory of local businesses that can take orders on the phone and be able to deliver.

“This is updated weekly and can be downloaded, printed anywhere, and shared out into the community.

“We have every type of business, from butchers and bakers, fruit, veg, drinks and provisions, to restaurants and cafes offering delivery, garden centres, pet care and supplies and other services such as computers and emergency cover for plumbing and heating, as well as anything we think will be a valuable resource.

“We have so many caring, warm-hearted, talented and generous people in our community and this is shown every day when the Angels of Kings Lynn work together making sure no-one is left without help and hope.”

The Facebook group, which has more than 3700 members, also sees daily posts from local businesses and individuals offering a range of activities to keep people entertained during the lockdown.

It includes arts and crafts making, live musical performances and bedtime stories with Amber the dog.

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About Jo Reynolds:

Born in Bishop’s Stortford and now living in King’s Lynn, Ms Reynold’s has maintained a life of helping others.

She became the first female firefighter in Britain at the age of 17 after joining Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service in 1982.

The 55-year-old left the fire brigade seven years later and has volunteered and been involved in humanitarian work in South East Asia.

Ms Reynolds returned to Norfolk to write a memoir on her firefighting experience, her book Fire Woman was published in 2017.

She said: “Using determination and inner strength to overcome prejudice I proved that women can make great firefighters.

“I feel so touched and honoured to be considered as a trailblazer and one of the women changing history.”

Now a motivational speaker, she aims to encourage girls and women into “brilliant and exciting careers” after she said she saw a lack of visible female role models in many professions.

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