People:Time out

Most union leaders stick to speechmaking at their annual conferences, but Mary Bousted, the general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, went above and beyond the call of duty at Bournemouth this week.

As delegates gathered inside the warm conference centre, Dr Bousted (right) was to be found crawling along the ground in the car park, unravelling a fireman's hose.

The game union boss had agreed to pose with said heavy-duty equipment and two hunky firefighters from the local Westbourne fire station, in order to promote the union's new health and safety campaign.

Looking even more petite than usual in her outsized fireman's helmet and jacket, she was lifted into the air by firefighters Martin Gollop and Mark Brizland.

"I feel like a complete wally," she said, as her communications team emerged from the centre to looked on amused. "The things I do for my union."

Photographers snapped away for several minutes before she asked if the men holding her up needed a break.

Mr Gollop said: "She did a good job with the hose. She'd make an excellent firefighter."

When asked if the photo call was a fulfilment of a long-standing fireman fantasy, Dr Bousted laughed, but pointedly refused to be drawn on the question.

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