Skip to content
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service logo

Fire and Rescue

Accessibility Feedback

Share your ‘cooking calamity’ stories for chance to take part in panto ticket giveaway

Panto-land is no stranger to magical puffs of smoke, pyrotechnic displays and the occasional crazy cooking scene that goes badly wrong.

So this year, Royal & Derngate has given its support to Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service’s ‘Crackers, not calamities’ fire safety campaign by donating first prize panto tickets for our competition which asks people to share their ‘worst cooking calamity’ stories.

Cooking is a major cause of house fire and, in the last three years, Northamptonshire firefighters have attended more than 400 fires relating to cooking itself, or caused by cooking equipment.

Christmas is a fun-filled time for many people but, with its many distractions, it also lends itself to plenty of opportunities for accidental cooking fires.

Not only can there be problems with people failing to turn ovens off or to keep an eye on what they are cooking, alcohol is also a factor if people try to whip up a culinary masterpiece or even just a late night snack when under the influence of festive drinking.

To encourage people to think about their own cooking safety at home, we are asking people to email NFRS with an account of their ‘ worst cooking calamity’ stories (at Christmas or perhaps another time in the year)and also comment on what they learned from the experience, particularly if that message is about fire safety!

Lisa Bryan, Prevention, Safeguarding and Partnerships Manager at NFRS, said: “We would like to hear all about people’s cooking calamities, whether they had to ditch their Christmas dinner after burning it to a cinder, had a mishap with ingredients, set off all of their smoke alarms or perhaps even had to call for the fire service because cooking turned to a disaster.

“By running this competition we are hoping to encourage people to think about the safety of their cooking at home, reflect on what their experiences have taught them and we also hope to learn a bit more ourselves about what causes cooking accidents in the home.

“Sadly, cooking fires are so common and the consequences can range from serious house fires to simply setting off the smoke alarms with some burnt cookery, but the root causes of distraction, poor concentration and misjudgement are often the same. I hope we get to hear about a few people’s experiences and I would like to say thanks to Royal & Derngate for donating a prize to encourage people to come forward and help us learn more about cooking behaviour in our community.”

How to enter:

We are asking people to email in with their ‘worst cooking calamity’ stories. These should be between 250 and 500 words, explaining what happened, what you learned from the experience and what you would do differently in the future. One winner will be selected at random.

Please remember to include your name, address and the best contact phone number in your email.

The winner will be given a set of four panto tickets to this year’s production of Cinderella at Royal & Derngate in Northampton. The tickets will be for the 5pm show on December 27.

This year’s production stars soap and screen actress Anita Dobson as well as comedy legend Bernie Clifton and CBeebies star Sid Sloane.

Please be advised, we may approach entrants after the competition, regardless of whether or not they win, if we feel their story has an important message about fire safety we would like to share. Stories will not be shared or published without the entrant’s permission.

Email entries can be sent to:  The deadline for entries is 6pm on Sunday, December 15. The winner will be selected at random soon after this date and will be contacted by phone.

Please note the competition is not open to employees of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, Northamptonshire Police, the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, or their families.

For more details about Cinderella at Royal & Derngate, see: 

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service logo

Welcome to Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service

It looks like you're using an old version of Internet Explorer. In order to have the best experience possible with this site, please update your browser to the latest version of Microsoft Edge, or use a different browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.x

Download Google Chrome   or   Download Mozilla FireFox