Retired Shropshire firefighters and support staff are in Transylvania in Romania taking three more fully equipped fire engines and several tonnes of humanitarian aid as part of Shropshire charity Operation Sabre.
The convoy, crewed by 11 volunteer serving and retired firefighters from local and neighbouring fire services, including two Romanian fire officers, received a traditional blessing from Canon Jonathan Mitchell at St Chad’s, next to Shrewsbury Quarry, just before departure. Retired firefighter and fire and rescue authority member Malcolm Price, former Church Stretton firefighter John Mackenzie and retired auditor Kathy Hall along with former Assistant Chief Fire Officer Steve Worrall are among the crew.
Canon Jonathan said it was an honour to carry out his fourth blessing of Operation Sabre’s convoys, a blessing that is reciprocated by Romanian Catholic, Presbyterian and Orthodox priests on arrival in Romania.
The convoy will travel 1,700 miles, over five days, through nine countries, before reaching Transylvania.
On arrival, the team will embark upon an intensive training programme with local volunteer firefighters in the communities of Alba and Bihor counties, together with delivering aid to orphanages and old people’s homes.
The team, working alongside Romanian firefighters, will also continue their long-term project of redecorating and refurbishing a special needs home that caters for 80 residents.
The charity’s vice-president and team leader Malcolm Price praised the support of local groups from across Shropshire and the Welsh borders who have generously donated toys, blankets and clothing, all of which will make a huge impact upon the lives of those who have so little.
The team return to the UK on Saturday, June 20 and their daily progress can be viewed via the charity’s Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/operationsabre/