Fire chiefs have banned much-loved children’s TV character Fireman Sam for being a man.
Fireman Sam has been a fixture of children’s TV since being created in the 1980s by two London firefighters.
Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue service has axed the 30-year-old favourite from promo material saying he is too male and puts off women from joining up. It follows complaints he was not inclusive.
He will be replaced by in-house creations, the fire extinguisher-shaped Freddy, Filbert and Penelope. But residents said it was a ridiculous decision, comparing the characters to coloured frogs and giant male contraceptives.
Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue has become the first service to stop using him. He will no longer feature in its ads and staff will be stopped from wearing Fireman Sam costumes. An email to stations read: “It does not reflect the inclusive nature of Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue.”
The county’s fire chief Les Britzman said firefighters and residents raised concerns Fireman Sam did not properly represent the service.
He said: “It’s important to us that our open days and community events don’t make anyone feel excluded and therefore we took this decision.”
And it was backed by Richard Wright, Fire Brigades Union secretary for Lincolnshire, who insisted: “We are firefighters, not firemen.”
One former Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue employee said her daughter watched Fireman Sam every day.
She added: “When I asked her if only men could be firefighters, she said: ‘Don’t be silly Mummy, Penny is a firefighter as well.’
“The idea it would put her off a career choice in ten years’ time because it isn’t inclusive is ridiculous.”