London Fire Brigade

Education officer's daughter stars in heart warming John Lewis advert

08 September 2015

The daughter of an education officer in the our education team has stolen the heart of the nation, as the gawky dancing star of the new John Lewis insurance advert.

Ruth Lawrence's daughter, Bunny May, is seen enthusiastically pirouetting around her home to Elton John's 1971 hit Tiny Dancer, narrowly missing furniture, pictures and glasses.

Bunny May saw off stiff competition from hundreds of children to star in the advert, for which she was coached by a choreographer from the Royal Ballet School.

Casting directors loved the shiny blue leotard she wore to the first audition so much, it inspired the costume for the final commercial.

But it was Ruth who would find herself the centre of attention when she went to collect the nine-year-old for rehearsals, after being recognised as 'the fire lady' that taught her daughter's class about fire safety.

The 'fire lady'

She said: "I taught her class in year two and a lot of them remembered me as the fire lady who came in to speak with them.

"They remember the rhyme I taught them, a couple of them came up and said 'I told my mum to get a smoke alarm' and others would demonstrate using the backs of their hands to check whether something was hot.

"It was good to see they remembered the safety messages they'd been taught."

Having no television meant Ruth and Bunny May had to go to a neighbour's house to watch the advert première and were unaware of the kudos attached to a John Lewis advertising campaign.

Ruth said: "Not having a television, the growth of John Lewis and the popularity of their adverts had passed me by. It did hit me when I first saw it and I cried a little.

"Bunny May has no idea what a big deal it is to be part of a John Lewis ad and she doesn't know anything about the song.

"She got paid for the advert but is more happy about the Beano subscription she's been allowed to buy as a reward.

"In an interview she was recently asked which was more exciting, her birthday or being on TV and her response was her birthday!"

Education Team teach fire safety in schools

Our education team go into primary and secondary schools across London where they provide free fire safety education.