Firefighters join a Lush campaign at White Rose Shopping Centre

Firefighters are helping to break down a different kind of barrier.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service staff from across the district backed a campaign supporting lesbian, gay and transgender people.

The service’s area manager Ian Bitcon visited cosmetic firm Lush at the White Rose Shopping Centre to take part in their #gayisok campaign.

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The store has been selling golden bars of soap imprinted with #gayisok to raise cash for charity All out.

Mr Bitcon said: “We are proud to support this positive campaign, which raises awareness of the oppressive laws many LGBT people live with around the world.

“We take our role as Stonewall Diversity Champion very seriously, both in supporting our staff and working with the LGBT community in West Yorkshire.

“This is just one of many campaigns we hope to support in the future in the hope we can spread safety messages.”

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The charity supports human rights in more than 70 countries where homosexuality is a crime.

Lush’s White Rose shop sold their entire stock of 359 in four days and has raised a total of £1,436 for the charity.

The fire service became a Stonewall Diversity Champion this year and a team was formed to promote fire safety in LGBT communities.

Area Manager Ian Bitcon has fronted the programme for service.

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He was joined by watch commanders Anthony Devine and Chris Kovacs, and workforce development advisor Michaela Hill, in support of the campaign at the shop.

Lush store manager Ashley Scott said: “It is lovely that our message is getting out there and that the fire service, which many see as a very masculine organisation, shows it is accepting of everyone.”

For more information about the #gayisok campaign, which is being run by the cosmetic firm at its stores across the world, visit