A 'CRACKING' community event in Weymouth combined festive fun with fire safety.

Weymouth fire station opened its doors to the public on Saturday for the return of its popular SafeWise Christmas Fire Cracker, with hundreds of people attending.

Plenty of family entertainment was on offer, including Santa in his grotto, festive stalls, and live music and dance performances.

The Radipole Lane station was already packed when the Echo arrived in the morning, with a large crowd gathered to hear Wyke Regis Junior School choir.

Among them was proud grandad Philip Pitt, who said: "I've come down to watch my granddaughter Sophia Hodge sing as part of the choir. I think it's a great community event."

Enjoying the games outside in the courtyard was former firefighter Graham Newman, who was at the event with grandson Charlie.

Mr Newman said: "I served for 30 years - now my son's a firefighter here too. The station is an important part of the community."

Also feeling the community Christmas spirit was Father Christmas, who was busy handing out gifts in his grotto, while a long queue of families waited patiently outside.

The Echo managed to sneak past Santa's security elves for a quick chat with mum Charlotte Wall, who brought three year-old son William to see Santa.

"He loves all the emergency services but fire is definitely his favourite," Charlotte said.

"He's obsessed with fire engines - we go past the station every day on the way to nursery.

"I think the event's great because all the money goes back into the fire service."

Representatives from Dorset Police were there too. We caught up with resident Sam Miller, who had a hug from a giant police dog. "I'm here with my son James, who is three - he loves fire engines," she told us.

As well as providing a free day of entertainment, there was also a serious fire safety message behind the event, with live fire demonstrations being held in the courtyard outside.

All funds raised on the day will go to SafeWise Weymouth and The Fire Fighters Charity.

For more information about SafeWise Weymouth and the community firestation visit www.safewise.org/safewise-weymouth